Group calls for expansion of state park at Outer Harbor

Sep 23, 2019

Expand the Outer Harbor into a full state park is the message coming from the Partnership for the Public Good and a dozen other local groups who make up the Our Harbor Coalition. The Partnership released a report Monday, detailing a full analysis of the why a state park is best for the land.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Part of the land is already deemed a New York State Park and is run by an entity based in Tennessee. Senior Partnership Fellow and report author Sam Magavern said while the coalition is pleased with the work the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has done with the land, he believes the land is better off in the hands of the public.

“It’s really important to say ‘this is not a park, it’s not a state park,’” he said. “The Harbor Corporation can sell off pieces of it if they choose to.

Members of the Our Outer Harbor Coalition. (Sam Magavern in the middle)
Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

Magavern said the perpetuity of the park is important. He acknowledged many state run parks suffer from a lack of funding but believes philanthropy, corporations and individual donations would put the park in a better place as time goes by.

“We don’t want just any state park. We want a state park that is uniquely responsive to Buffalo,” he said. “It’s heritage. It’s expertise.”

Should the Outer Harbor become a full state park, Magavern said his coalition would push for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy to act as an advisory council.