Updated: Friday, 06 Aug 2010, 6:46 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 26 Jan 2010, 10:11 PM EST
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Planners have laid out their vision for the new Buffalo waterfront. The public was given a chance to reply.
The Waterfront Development Project is in the public phase right now. The principals of the project gave an update and then business leaders and residents gave their input.
Tour operator Mike Conboy said, "There really is no planning for tourism attractions such as galleries or museums which can be utilized year round."
"I'm still optimistic about it and I believe it will help me and my business 100 percent, said business owner Terrence Gidney.
Local historians don't want to see the Central Terminal forgotten.
Hank Olejniczak of the Central Terminal Restoration Committee said, "Our building offers 500,000 square feet that could easily manage whatever you want to put in there, office, retail, manufacturing."
The message to the public is this: the money, the vision and the leadership are all in place for Waterfront Development. Public funds are secured from federal stimulus dollars and the Power Authority settlement and the Canalside Project moves forward.
"So the decision making for Buffalo Waterfront Development has been taken out of Albany, Washington and put in the hands of people from the local community," said Representative Brian Higgins.
A big public concern is getting retail down at canalside. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Thomas Dee says they've talked to some 200 eager businesses.
"The first question we get from any vendor we talk to is, "How do we know we're going to be successful?" and nobody's going to invest money in a project unless they see things happen," said Dee.
And progress, he says, is happening with infrastructure work this spring and actual construction work in late summer. Look for full scale retail in two years.