Three community meetings will be held next week to obtain public input about design plans for reusing a vast swath of land on the Outer Harbor.
The public forums are designed to give any Western New Yorker a chance to weigh in with opinions and suggestions about how to redevelop nearly 170 acres of waterfront land along Fuhrmann Boulevard south of the city. Those views, together with other research, will be used by San Francisco-based Perkins + Will – the planning and architectural firm Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. hired to create a “blueprint” by late fall that will guide planners as redevelopment progresses.
“We are determined to listen to what our residents want to see in the blueprint for Buffalo’s last frontier,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “These meetings are open to everyone and are designed to solicit varied opinions and guidance from the region’s people. The design team is open to all suggestions within our guiding principles.”
The sprawling land is part of the larger 350 acres of waterfront territory that were transferred to the state agency earlier this year by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, with the backing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. About 190 acres is now the first state park in the city of Buffalo, but the rest is open for development.
The public programs will feature presentations from state and local officials, as well as from Perkins+Will, about the planning process, as well as interactive games to engage participants in mock planning exercises. “It’s about accessibility, diversity, planning and design, and financial sustainability,” Gioia said.
The first two forums will be held Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at WNED Studios at 140 Lower Terrace and at the Makowski Early Childhood Center at 1095 Jefferson Ave. A third will be held July 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Old First Ward Community Center at 62 Republic St.
As part of its work, Perkins + Will also is completing an “existing conditions report” on water, wind, access, physical constraints and opportunities, planning efforts and ongoing projects, employment, transportation and infrastructure.