BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) - Congressman Brian Higgins said today that "Bass Pro is not coming to Buffalo." That was in response to Erie Canal Harbor Development Board Member Larry Quinn's suggestion yesterday that they try one last time to secure a deal with Bass Pro.
Higgins said he has spoken with the President of Bass Pro, Johnny Morris and Morris has no intention of building a store on Buffalo's waterfront.
Higgins went on to outline his plan for the inner and outer harbor while standing along the Erie Canal Commercial Slip.
The Congressman formally submitted the plan to Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation after receiving Bass Pro's July 29, 2010 letter "withdrawing from further consideration of this (Canal Side) development" and has been working on implementing components of his plan over the last several weeks.
"Western New York has an extraordinary opportunity and extraordinary resources to remake its waterfront," said Higgins. "By making the necessary investments in public infrastructure we set the stage for long-term private sector investment."
The Congressman's plan focuses heavily on building out the public components of existing Inner Harbor plans and expanding waterfront opportunities at the Outer Harbor through, among other projects, a bridge that links downtown to the Outer Harbor.
Higgins' plan calls for:
- Construction of Canals and Canal Side Hall providing a market place for local small business
- Build out of the South Basin providing dock space and exciting new shoreline features
- Support for converting the DL&W into a cultural destination
- A long-term contract for Buffalo Place to continue the public events that draw people to the water's edge
- Seed money to attract the necessary funds for construction of the Buffalo Harbor Bridge
- Infrastructure improvements to make residential living possible along the Outer Harbor
- Support for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy to maintain landscape features along the Outer Harbor
- Gallagher Beach improvements including additional paths and the creation of a sandy swimming beach
- An open and competitive development process
Higgins added, "This community has waited decades to see results on the waterfront. Anchor discussion shouldn't be weighing down progress on our waterfront. The anchor, the main attraction, is the water. There is no need to waste time or money chasing an anchor. It has been here all along. When we focus on the water, which has a limitless longevity, and build out around it in a way that is attractive to the public and to developers we create economic opportunities for years to come."
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