BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Back home in western New York Monday morning, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of major projects planned for Buffalo’s waterfront.
Hochul was at the Buffalo Harbor for the announcement. Joining her in speaking were Congressman Brian Higgins, NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez and New York State Parks Commissioner Eric Kulleseid.
The plans announced during the morning include restoring more than 21 acres at Canalside and 200 more acres on the Outer Harbor. It will come at a cost of more than $300 million, Hochul said.
$10.6 million will go toward rebuilding Wilkeson Pointe, a place Hochul says will be “the real epicenter of activity down on our waterfront.”
“We all love it. It’s a big attraction, but it doesn’t quite have the amenities that it should have,” Hochul said.
It’s expected to be finished by 2025, but the Governor indicated that she hopes it’s ready sooner. Right now, the planned start time is Fall 2023.
More than $5.8 million will be used for the Bell Slip, where landscaping and better bathrooms are expected to be ready by 2024 after work starts in October. $2 million of this will come from Buffalo Billion 2 funding, Hochul’s office said.
$12.6 million will go toward construction of the Gateway Building, an announcement that was met with applause from those in attendance. Hochul’s office said this multi-story, brick building will be built along the northern edge of the Main Canal.
“The Gateway Building will be the first stop for all visitors, providing information, public restrooms and ADA accessibility between the two-level Canalside site, while consolidating waterfront operations at the same location,” Hochul’s office said.
After mentioning this investment, the Governor spoke on something she referred to as “a radical idea,” — that more passenger cruise ships would be coming to Buffalo.
“I remember I was at a meeting of the Great Lakes governors and Canadian premiers up in Quebec, and there was a person who ran a very profitable cruise ship line, and he showed on a map all the places he was coming through…and then it goes onto Erie, Pennsylvania as their next stop. I said, ‘Newsflash! There’s a place called Buffalo, and I have a feeling that people will find a lot more to do, and I love Erie, Pennsylvania, but there’s a lot more to do here.'” Hochul said.
Regarding waterfront access, Hochul’s office said there is an ongoing $150,000 Buffalo Riverwalk feasibility study, with a final report expected to be released this fall. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is contributing more than $41,250 to this.
“The Buffalo Riverwalk will consist of a system of universally accessible and elevated walkways, fishing piers and dock level promenades along the Buffalo River and Kelly Island shoreline connecting Canalside and the Outer Harbor through a unique experience,” Hochul’s office said.