Local
7:55 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Plans moving forward for state harbor park

A new state park on Buffalo's waterfront is another step closer to reality. The NFTA's long-vacant property along Furhmann Boulevard is now in the hands of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

An artist's rendering of the "destination playground" planned for the state park along the Outer Harbor.
An artist's rendering of the "destination playground" planned for the state park along the Outer Harbor.

ECHDC President Tom Dee says the old NFTA property will basically be split in two.

The area around Gallagher Beach and the Small Boat Harbor will be run by New York State Parks. Albany's $15 million improvement plan includes a 'destination playground,' picnic pavilions and a pedestrian walkway and overlook on a redesigned breakwall at the marina.

"There's going to be some great green space. And then always abiding by our number one guiding principle - which is public access," Dee said.

"It's making the area attractive and creating good fun-things to do along with the access that's necessary to get to the water's edge."  
 

Dee says the internationally renowned firm of "Perkins+Will" has been appointed to study the other parcel of barren land between the Port Terminals and Wilkeson Pointe. He says the goal is to come up with a mixed-use development that will attract critical mass and stand the test of time.

"With that we'll have arranged scheduled meetings with the public so that we can get public input. So we're looking forward for them to come in as a group of professionals who have worked on similar waterfronts and worked in cold weather cities and try to ask the question, 'what are the great things that we can do on this waterfront?'" Dee said.

"This body of water is such a gem that we have. We really need to cultivate it and think of it as an asset and a resource rather than just as the Outer Harbor with nothing on it."   

Dee says the architecture and design firm's first report is due this fall which is when work on the new state park is set to begin.