Go back two years and Ohio Street in Buffalo's First Ward was a crumbling road in a dying neighborhood, flanked by buildings which were either falling down or looking in danger of falling. Today, the community's prospects are considerably brighter.
There is housing going up, a permanent rowing club building, a complete re-paving and an expansion of River Fest Park.
Valley Community Association Executive Director Peg Overdorf says it all started with a search for water access.
"We did find a gentleman who owned a factory over there and was looking to retire. We were able to negotiate a sale price and purchased the land," Overdorf said as she explained the park's unlikely origins.
"Everybody thought we were nuts, that it was such decrepit conditions. Since that time, everybody has jumped on the bandwagon. We set out a list of objectives. We've met every single one of those objectives, one of which was economic development."
The lake freighters still use the Buffalo River but they can be watched from building sites, River Fest Park and the new Buffalo RiverWorks across the river with its ice rinks and an outdoor deck. Soon, visitors will be able to watch the crew races and practices of the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association.