A portion of one of the public canals being constructed at Canalside will be used to provide a shaded, tree-lined walkway with seating near the water.
The change to the East Canal, which will run roughly between Main and Washington streets, came after public suggestions for more covered, green and “fun space,” said Thomas P. Dee, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.
“This is going to be a parcel from Washington to get you to Main Street that’s activated with fun things to do. I think it will be a cool, hip place where you will want to get your coffee and read the paper,” Dee said.
The stone walkway will include transparent lanes that show water below.
The board’s directors approved the change at a cost of $652,000 to C&S Companies, which is designing the main public canal. The funds will come from Niagara River Greenway money available as a result of the Niagara Power Project relicensing agreement with New York Power Authority.
Dee also said that because of a three-month delay in construction, the planned finish line for replicating a part of the Erie Canal where Memorial Auditorium once stood has been pushed back to next summer or fall. That is still a few months before the planned Jan. 1, 2014, opening of Phillips Lytle law firm and Courtyard by Marriott hotel at One Canalside, the former Donovan State Office Building that’s under construction.
“There are crews on the site, and they are feverishly moving forward, and we need it to move forward as fast as we can based on the weather conditions we have,” Dee said. “We’re focused on quality control right now.”
Nearby will be the recently fenced-in Webster Block, where Sabres owner Terry Pegula is building a hotel and two ice rinks, planned to open in 2014.
In other news, Dee said a test projection of images and sound on a grain elevator last week was a success, and it will lead to a final plan later this year on a projected image and light show extravaganza for 2013. Dee said one or more elevators could be illuminated on a permanent basis.