outer harbor

Chris Caya/WBFO News

The NFTA should focus on its core mission of public transportation and not stand in the way of waterfront progress, says Rep. Brian Higgins. 

Plans for a new waterfront football stadium are making the rounds in City Hall.

Officials with the Greater Buffalo Sports and Entertainment Complex will present their plans for a 72,000-seat retractable roof stadium to the Buffalo Common Council's Community Development Committee this afternoon. 

wbfo file photo / WBFO News

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority has requested development proposals for its outer harbor lands delaying the transfer of ownership.

The delay was criticized by Representative Brian Higgins as unnecessary. Higgins claims that transferring the nearly 400 acres now to the Erie Canal harbor Development Corporation or the City of Buffalo will maintain the momentum of development that has been established.

The delay means that the transfer will not take place until January or February.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A new recreational area will soon be open to the public on Buffalo's Outer Harbor on land that has been closed off for decades.

Local elected leaders officially kicked off the project along Furhmann Boulevard adjacent to the Times Beach Nature Preserve Thursday morning. 

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Tom Dee says the plan for the 21-acre site is similar to Canalside. 

They are called Brownfield Opportunity Areas and the public is getting a chance this week to decide what to do with them.

In a series of public meetings, city officials are offering possible developments for each site and asking the public about each possibility. Then, they will be put together into a plan to be presented in September, with final decision toward the end of the year.

File photo

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority says it will relinquish ownership of more than 400 acres of prime waterfront real estate on Buffalo's Outer Harbor. 

New NFTA Board Chair Howard Zemsky renewed the vow in a meeting with reporters today. But Zemsky says the change is not necessarily going to happen quickly.

"People should understand that we have to have conversations with Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation itself. The mayor has expressed in expressing his views on the Outer Harbor.  So, we have to have conversations,"  Zemsky said.

Congressman Brian Higgins and two members of the Western New York State Legislature delegation have sent a strongly-worded letter to the NFTA, calling on the Authority to relinquish control of the Outer Harbor.

Meeting with reporters on the windswept boardwalk by Gallagher Beach Friday, Higgins, State Senator Timothy Kennedy, and State Assemblyman Sean Ryan appealed to the NFTA to turn the title of 300 acres of prime waterfront real estate over to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, an agency whose sole mission is waterfront development. 

The NFTA's long-vacant property on Buffalo's waterfront should be made into a family play space, according to the group Citizens for a 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor.  The group also wants the new park to be dedicated to Fredrick Law Olmsted, the man who designed much of the city green space. 

Former Erie County Legislator Joan Bozer says it's an opportunity to carry out Olmsted's plan for a waterfront park, which had to be moved inland in what became South Park.  Bozer points out the Greenway Plan and other waterfront proposals call for extending the "Olmsted legacy."