Two South Buffalo landfills near Tifft Street might find new life as a golf course.
A consultant has been hired to examine the possibility of putting a golf course, or some other golf facility, on 201 acres of brownfields with limited redevelopment potential.
Buffalo Urban Development Corp., a nonprofit agency that seeks to redevelop brownfields, voted last week to hire Wendel, an architecture and engineering firm, to examine whether there is enough space for a golf course, and whether one is practical. Such a course would be bounded by Hopkins Street on the east and Tifft on the north.
Issues such as whether there is demand for a golf course, how much it would cost to run and management alternatives will be addressed.
It is not yet clear which entity would own and manage such a course. The city owns the Alltifft landfill, while the other, Marilla Street landfill, is owned by Steelfields Ltd.
Steelfields has been engaged in the planning process for redeveloping the area and was on the consultant selection team, but the company would still need to decide whether to sell the landfill to allow a course to move forward, said Peter M. Cammarata, Buffalo Urban Development Corp. president.
A golf course would enhance the area and be good for the neighborhood and nearby business parks, including Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park and Riverbend Business Park, said Senior City Planner John M. Fell. It would be “a key amenity to help us attract employment, quality of life for that area,” he said.
Wendel is working with subcontractors Arcadis, Hurdzan-Fry, Watts, and Speer Consulting, and the team has experience building golf courses on landfills. Wendel was awarded the $290,000 contract after an advisory committee reviewed 16 responses and interviewed three firms.
The contract will be paid for with a grant from the state Department of State, which is involved in the South Buffalo Brownfield Opportunity Area, where the landfills are located.
The creation of a golf course the would allow the nine-hole course at South Park to relocate, which is preferred by the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.
The park was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as an arboretum, and while there is a historic tree collection in the park, only golfers can see them, said Thomas Herrera-Mischler, conservancy president and CEO.
“South Park is one of the most intact Olmsted landscapes in the nation,” Herrera-Mischler said. “We have a 19th century masterpiece we want to restore.”
The idea of putting a new golf course in South Buffalo has been discussed since the 1990s, Fell said.
If there isn’t enough room for a full 18-hole, links-style course, or it’s not financially practical, the consultant is expected to recommend other related recreational uses for the area, such as a driving range or golf training center.