BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – With record numbers of visitors coming down to Buffalo’s revitalized Waterfront, Buffalo Congressman Higgins is calling on Erie Canal development officials to take it to the next step, and Higgins has two new projects specifically in mind.
The Washington lawmaker believes the old Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad Terminal–tucked behind the First Niagara Center along the Buffalo River–is ripe for commercial development, and Kelly Island could become the gateway connecting Canalside to the Outer Harbor.
Kelly Island is that strip of land where General Mills is located, between the Buffalo River and the Ship Canal.
Higgins is calling on the Erie Canal Development Corporation to spend $10 million to improve accessibility to the Island, and another $10 million to get the train terminal “development ready”.
“Over a million visitors this year at Canalside,” said Higgins at Tuesday afternoon news conference, “This place would have done very well, commercially, if it was open and accessible to the public. It is not and it should be.”
The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s Board of Directors meets Wednesday morning, and sources say Higgins’ proposals could come up for discussion.
Congressman Higgins called the DL&W Terminal a big void on the Waterfront, “It is an historic building, and I think it adds a unique character to the waterfront area.”
The DL&W Terminal is actually owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which already has plans for converting the lower floor into a Metro Rail station. New development would take place on the upper floor.Public Statement from Robert Gioia, Chairman of the Board for Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, in response to Higgins’ proposals:
“Congressman Higgins has been a great advocate and champion for Buffalo’s revitalized waterfront. We appreciate his input and as stewards of the continuing planning and implementation of policies and programs that have contributed to the overwhelming success of Canalside and the Outer Harbor, thanks largely to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s commitment to Buffalo’s waterfront, we will consider his recommendations for all future related development activities.”