ADVERTISEMENT

Six waterfront projects are now under construction, and three are in design, after a formal agreement with the state Department of Transportation was approved this week to turn Ohio Street into an attractive parkway.

The $11 million project – 80 percent paid by the federal government – calls for reconstructing the industrial 1.4-mile road between Michigan Avenue and Route 5 into a two-lane parkway, with bike and pedestrian paths, landscaping, streetscape lighting and historic signage. Infrastructure improvements from Michigan to Canalside also are planned.

Work is expected to begin in November 2013, with completion slated for the following spring.

A $1.2 million contract for engineering services was approved for Audubon Architecture, Engineering, Surveying & Landscape Architecture by the board of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

The projects have the waterfront humming with more work under way than any time in memory.

“It just shows we’re incredibly busy moving forward,” said Thomas Dee, president of Erie Canal Development Corp.

In other news:

• The agency hopes to stage 600 events next summer at Canalside, up from 425 this summer.

• A master plan for an illuminated, multimedia presentation in 2013 on one or more grain elevators will be submitted by Ambiances Design Productions of Montreal in December.

• The Modified General Project Plan for Canalside was changed to reflect the new plans for the Webster Block, with public hearings expected early next year.

• The Prime Slip, once planned to hold water, will be interpretive only with the addition of the east canal.

• Plans for a public market are moving at an “incremental” pace, Dee said, with discussions being conducted with potentially interested developers and food vendors.

• Floating docks that will double capacity for boaters at the Central Wharf have been completed.

• A project on Gallagher Beach and the outer harbor parcel has begun to determine if beaches can be established.

email: msommer@buffnews.com