The march to develop the outer harbor took another step forward Thursday.
The state Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.’s first construction project is now under way, and a slew of local, city and state officials stood on the 21-acre parcel off Fuhrmann Boulevard, adjacent to Times Beach, for the announcement.
The site, which includes six acres of planned shovel-ready, mixed-use development, is scheduled to be completed by next Memorial Day.
It will include public access along the perimeter and water’s edge, with pedestrian paths, volleyball courts, natural playground, a gazebo, wind sculptures, sculpted land forms and public docks.
It also will have a sandy beach, if testing approved by the waterfront agency is favorable.
“When this project is complete, the people of Buffalo will finally be able to relax [on the outer harbor] and enjoy a view that has been hidden for far too many years,” said Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.
“The outer harbor is a prime location for new development and activities, and it will be a catalyst for many things to come in the City of Buffalo.”
Mayor Byron W. Brown called the project the latest development in what he said was Buffalo’s “waterfront renaissance.”
Some of the land was purchased by the waterfront agency in 2008 from Cargill.
The majority was acquired from the New York Power Authority, where it had housed the ice boom, as part of a relicensing agreement. Proceeds from that agreement also are supporting the $3.3 million project.
That agreement also led to the creation of the new Mutual Riverfront Park, the ice boom’s new home that includes public access and canoe launch sites.
Site work will include installation of a soil cap over the entire area, shoreline enhancements, removal and disposal of concrete slabs and foundations, lighting and a comfort station.
Thomas Dee, the waterfront agency’s president, said public access will be followed by incremental events and later, he expects, private development.