BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has adopted a scaled down, "people-friendly" waterfront plan for the post-Bass Pro era.
ECHDC Chairman Jordan Levy said, "We have listened hard. We will continue to listen hard."
The ECHDC board tabled an idea to build a parking ramp, and instead approved a modified plan to bring the water even closer to Main Street and Pearl Street by following the original path of the Erie Canal onto the spot where the Aud used to be. The $30 million project would include sidewalks and bridges, laying the groundwork for private investment.
"It has always been our objective and our wish that the private sector builds out Buffalo's waterfront. Our job is to create infrastructure to ignite investment, but it's not to build things that other people should be building with their own resources," said Levy.
The shops would be built later with private money, but vendors don't necessarily have to wait. The board is planning to set up a marketplace next summer using temporary tent structures at the inner harbor.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "People are gonna see progress. They're gonna see more things to do on the waterfront come this summer."
It's adopting the lighter, quicker, cheaper approach to the waterfront, closer to what demonstrators were calling for in a rally on Saturday. The board plans to enlist some of them now to sit on harbor planning subcommittees.
Tim Tielman of the Campaign for a Greater Buffalo said, "This is certainly better than we were looking at a matter of months ago, and one has to believe, of course, it's only due to the public uproar that occurred. But, I do want to give them credit for being responsive to that uproar."
The Canal Board also committed the money to restore Buffalo's Historic Lighthouse, and to pay $2 million toward opening Lakeside Meadows Park on what is now NFTA property on the outer harbor.
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