Award Marks Significant Step In Opening Up Greenspace Along Outer Harbor
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Senator Hillary Clinton announced $3.1 million in federal funding dedicated to a project that would create 20 acres of new parkland on land now occupied by the Buffalo station for the United States Coast Guard. The funding, championed by Higgins and Clinton, was included in the appropriations bill approved by the House of Representatives and Senate and signed by the President in late December.
“Senator Clinton has been a strong and active partner on this effort which will open up public access to the historic lighthouse and valuable waterfront land,” said Congressman Higgins, a member of the Coast Guard Subcommittee of the House of Representative Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This project will occur simultaneously with other initiatives that will completely transform the Outer Harbor. In addition to progress on the Coast Guard site, next year alone we will see construction begin on a new waterfront parkway, completion of the greenbelt path and linear park, and an environmental review for a new bridge connection.”
“This is great news for the City of Buffalo, and I want to thank Congressman Higgins for his partnership and resolve in seeing this issue through. This is an important investment in restoring public access to Buffalo’s historic lighthouse and valuable green space on City’s waterfront,” said Senator Clinton. “The plans for consolidation will not only help Buffalo realize the full potential of its Outer Harbor, but it also provides Sector Buffalo with a means to evaluate how they can best continue to maintain a strong Coast Guard presence while acting as a key partner in the area’s resurgence.”
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 one of our community’s most historic landmarks, the 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. Preliminary engineering and design work will begin this year.
"Thanks to the hard work and effective leadership of Congressman Higgins and Senator Clinton, an important area of Buffalo's waterfront along the Outer Harbor will be returned to city residents and visitors as beautiful parkland," said Mayor Byron W. Brown. "Momentum continues to build along our waterfront, finally reconnecting Buffalo with one of its greatest natural assets. This is yet another encouraging sign that the years of inertia and inaction along Buffalo's waterfront are long gone; the future of Buffalo continues to grow brighter."
"The Coast Guard appreciates the interest Congressman Higgins has shown regarding Sector Buffalo and will continue to work with the Congressman's office as this process moves forward," said Angela Hirsch, Coast Guard spokesperson.
Sector Buffalo provides search and rescue, law enforcement, aids-to-navigation, recreational boating safety, marine environmental response, and ice operations services to the public. Its area of responsibility includes Lake Erie from Lorain, Ohio to Buffalo, New York, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, the Erie Canal, and the St. Lawrence Seaway to Massena, New York.