Public meeting tonight on future of Outer Harbor

Three projects under discussion at Outer Harbor

Mike Baggerman
November 19, 2018 - 3:00 am

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation will present its latest proposal on the access and activation project on Buffalo's Outer Harbor on Monday evening.

The group will present three site plan options for the First Buffalo River Marina, Wilkeson Pointe to Bell Slip, and Terminal B. The public will then have an opportunity to comment on the options to officials, provide feedback, and respond to a survey. ECHDC said the input will help establish their vision for a successful project. 

It's unclear what the latest proposal will be from ECHDC. Some surveyors called for year-round access for the bike ferry landing, added restrooms at the Outer Harbor, more natural habitat, the creation of a museum. There have also been some public calls for and against housing at Buffalo's Connecting Terminal. 

CLICK HERE TO SEE PREVIOUS COMMENTS FROM OTHER PROPOSALS

A survey on the site was conducted online from July 9 to August 13. Most of the 290 people who responded were from the City of Buffalo but ECHDC noted that most of the people who responded to the survey were knowledgeable of the Outer Harbor and were able to identity key locations. Anyone visiting Monday's public meeting can fill out another survey. 

The First Buffalo River Marina project is meant to enhance public access of the 15 acre property. ECHDC wants to enhance access to the Queen City Bike Ferry, identify possible reuses of the Connecting Terminal grain elevator, maintain the 115-slip marina, and consider long-term potential in development. 

ECHDC is also eyeing the 124-acre WIlkeson Pointe to Bell Slip site which includes Michigan Pier. The group wants to improve the visitor experience at that site and also discuss natural community habitats.

The third site is Terminal B, a 15-acre site which is anchored by a 96,000 square foot one-story building. ECHDC wants to come up with the most appropriate use for the site which is next to an under-construction exterior events lawn. 

ECHDC officials declined comment ahead of meeting.

READ MORE: A look at the Greenway Trail project

Assemblyman Sean Ryan, whose district includes the Outer Harbor, told WBEN that the community wants an Outer Harbor that has activities, recreation, trails, etc.

"I'm fairly confident that the people at the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation are hearing the public," Ryan told WBEN. "We hope to be presented with a series of options for the Outer Harbor that are all built around this concept of recreation and activities."

Ryan said that in the past, there were ideas to place box stores and condos at the Outer Harbor, but they were largely rejected.

"We've made some good steps here," he said. "We've got the bike ferry going and that really increased the number of people going out to the Outer Harbor. I think ther'es going to be improvements in that marina area. To bring the connectivity from that area all the way down to the state park at the new state park at the boat harbor. I'm optimistic they'll bring a set of plans and that they'll be open minded to the public response to those plants."

Monday's meeting will be held at KeyBank Center's Lexus Club from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ECHDC will present its preferred alternative and implementation projects in February. 

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