Allow outer harbor to be a natural park
The deck was stacked at the outer harbor planning forum. Perkins+Will, architects hired by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., were to ask for ideas. Instead, they had all the ideas they wanted.
You walked in the door and bumped into a row of pyramid-shaped poster boards with all their ideas stuck on them. Over half were bricks-and-mortar: high-rise apartments, shopping malls, boutiques, a stadium. Lost in the glitter were open space, trails and beaches. A Perkins+Will representative gave me 12 green sticky dots to place as votes on the ideas that appealed.
There was no place to vote for the 21st Century Olmsted Park about which we have heard so much. I posted the Olmsted Park concept at the bottom of a pyramid and put all my stickers on it.
The ECHDC chairman laid out guidelines. He wanted our input on the outer harbor as long as it was for “mixed use and economic productivity.”
At the “planning game,” we had a map of the outer harbor and scraps of paper representing Ferris wheels, condos, bridges, roads, parking spaces, boutiques and even some meadows. A Perkins+Will leader refereed our free-for-all and every development she had in mind got a spot. A woman showed a postcard copy of the Olmsted plan and was waved off.
Allow the outer harbor to be a natural park, the envy of the world, for its fresh waters, its view, its birds, its fish and its fantastic sunsets. Economic benefit will follow.