For the grand sum of $2, the entire picture of Buffalo's Outer Harbor changed Thursday when the NFTA signed legal papers turning over 354 acres of land to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.
The land runs from the Coast Guard station to Tifft Street. The transportation authority will continue running the small boat harbor for this year and then move out completely. The land will be turned into a state park, with construction starting next year.
"We're clearly moving toward two potential swimming beaches at the Outer Harbor. One would be Gallagher Beach and the other would be Wilkeson Pointe," Rep. Brian Higgins says. "All of this is subject to environmental review to make sure that it's suitable for swimming."
Higgins says public access to the area will improve once the planned Buffalo Harbor Bridge is designed and built, allowing pedestrian and bicycle access from Canalside.
The Buffalo Democrat says a series of successes on both the Inner and Outer Harbors is breeding confidence after years of stagnation.
"People believe that waterfront access and progress is really possible. The transformation of Canalside has turned a lot of skeptics into believers," he adds.
Construction on converting Ohio Street into a parkway starts next month.