New Allocation Brings Federal Commitment to $6.1 Million
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve a bill which includes $3 million toward a plan to expand public access to waterfront land currently occupied by the Buffalo station for the United States Coast Guard. This additional funding, paired with $3.1 million secured in a bill approved in January, brings the total federal commitment to this project to $6.1 million. Senator Hillary Clinton has partnered with Congressman Higgins to lead this effort in the Senate.
“This new federal commitment sets this project on course for funding to proceed to construction,” said Congressman Higgins. “We bring Buffalo closer to reaching its waterfront potential through projects like this which expand public access and incorporate Buffalo’s unique history ultimately leading to increased regional economic development and tourism.”
Coast Guard Sector Buffalo currently occupies approximately 31 acres on the City of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The present configuration of the base prevents public access to a significant portion of the City’s waterfront, including the historic Buffalo Lighthouse. The Coast Guard has indicated that Sector Buffalo occupies a site that is too large for its needs. In 2003 the Coast Guard drew up a preliminary plan to upgrade facilities, some of which are over 70 years old, and consolidate them in a way that would meet its operational needs and allow for future growth.
“This funding is a wise investment in the continued growth and resurgence of Buffalo’s waterfront,” said Senator Clinton, “In addition to opening up valuable green space to Buffalonians, we are also giving Sector Buffalo the means to evaluate how they can best maintain a strong Coast Guard presence in the area. I thank Congressman Higgins for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to help in passing this legislation when it comes before the Senate.”
Congressman Higgins noted this is one of several projects currently taking place along Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. In addition to the recently completed Outer Harbor Greenbelt path, ongoing initiatives include: construction of the Outer Harbor Parkway, a $70 million project transforming Fuhrmann Boulevard into an easy to navigate, attractive, two-way road accompanied by pedestrian paths and boardwalks; and a study, led by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, that will look at construction of a new bridge to connect the inner and outer harbors.
The funding is included in House legislation passed today authorizing appropriations for defense, veteran and homeland security initiatives. The measure will now go before the Senate.