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City should pursue park in northern part of harbor

A recent News editorial discussed Buffalo’s first state park on the southern portion of the outer harbor. This land incorporates the Small Boat Harbor and Gallagher Beach State Park and primarily consists of water, not parkland. This is progress in the reclamation of Buffalo’s waterfront for public use, but only a small step toward a full recovery of the outer harbor.

21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor is advocating for a park on a different part of the outer harbor, the northern part. This piece of land could be easily accessible to nearby areas with connections at Ohio and Michigan streets. In the same week the new state park was created, the Erie County Harbor Development Corp. announced that Perkins+Will had been hired to create plans for this land, which currently hosts the outer harbor concerts.

The ECHDC has the opportunity, with control over both the outer and inner harbors, to revitalize the entire area. Now is the time for a comprehensive plan that will cover Canalside, the new state park and the northern section. This plan should also explore how Terminals A and B can be repurposed to generate funds to maintain a park on the northern section now that the proposed Gracious Living deal is dead. The ECHDC should consider making these properties part of the plan.

21st Century Park’s forum regarding Brooklyn Bridge Park illustrated how residential development helped generate funds to sustain that park with its high maintenance costs. This type of development is not appropriate for the major portion of the outer harbor, nor is it appropriate for the proposed park. A park-first plan should look at how both the inner and outer harbor could generate funds to maintain a park on one of the region’s most vital assets, Lake Erie.

Laura Kirkpatrick

Gary Phillips

Joan Bozer

Members, 21st Century Park

on the Outer Harbor, Buffalo