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State to invest $24 million in Buffalo waterfront projects

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - $24 million will go toward transforming Buffalo's waterfront.

In a news release sent by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office, the changes were broken down into three parts.

  • $10 million will go toward development of the North Aud Block a two-acre piece of land that was once the site of Memorial Auditorium.
  • $4 million will help construct a new facility to build a replica of an 1825 packet boat at Canalside. The facility will be called the "Longshed." Images of a packet boat can be found here.
  • Buffalo Blueway: $10 million will go toward creating a network of public access points along Buffalo's waterways.

"The success of Buffalo's waterfront is evident year-round, with hundreds of thousands of visitors experiencing Canalside and enjoying local restaurants and businesses in the surrounding area," Cuomo said. "These new projects will leverage Buffalo's natural beauty, tap into the rich culture and history the region has to offer, and expand opportunities for residents and visitors to access the Historic Erie Canal for generations to come."

Here are the proposed projects for Buffalo Blueway, courtesy of Gov. Cuomo's office:

  • "RiverWorks - An existing site where enhancements are partially completed. A new, universally accessible floating dock has been installed. Additional enhancements also planned include a Blueway marker, informational signage, possible paddle craft storage, or other amenities to be installed in Fall 2018 or Spring 2019.
  • NYSDEC Ohio Street Boat Launch and Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association - These two adjacent sites will be redesigned to create a newly improved and enhanced access point to the water. Scale and scope to be determined in 2019 with landowner and community input. Design expected to commence in 2018 with targeted construction in 2019.
  • Union Ship Canal - An existing site proposed to benefit from site enhancements including, but not limited to, a Blueway marker, informational signage, possible paddle craft storage, or other amenities to be installed in Fall 2018 or Spring 2019. This site may also include parking lot and transportation infrastructure improvements during the 2019 construction season.
  • Red Jacket Park - Potential new water access site, scale and scope to be determined by Erie County in 2019 with community input. Coordinating efforts with Erie County as part of comprehensive park improvements. Design targeted for mid-2019, construction targeted for 2020.
  • Buffalo Color - Potential new water access site. Large-scale project will commence design in 2018 with targeted construction in 2019.
  • Mungovan Park - Potential new water access site, scale and scope to be determined by the City of Buffalo and surrounding community. Design targeted to commence in 2019, construction targeted for 2020.
  • Seneca Bluffs - Potential new water access site, scale and scope to be determined by Erie County in 2019 with community input. Coordinating efforts with Erie County as part of comprehensive park improvements. Design targeted to commence in 2019, construction targeted for 2020.
  • LaSalle Park - Potential new water access site, scale and scope to be determined in 2019 with community input. Coordinating efforts with City of Buffalo and dependent upon comprehensive park rehabilitation. Planning begins Fall 2018, design targeted for 2019, construction currently targeted for 2020-2021.
  • Erie Basin Marina, Canalside, Wilkenson Point, Mutual Riverfront Park and Harlem Road Boat Launch - Existing sites proposed to benefit from enhancements including, but not limited to, a Blueway marker, informational signage, possible paddle craft storage, or other amenities to be installed in Fall 2018 or Spring 2019."

"Water defined our history and it will define our future, and investments in the universal access and restoration of our waterways is an investment in the local economy," Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka said. "Western New York is no longer accepting of polluted or inaccessible waterways, and our community is working together to take our waterfront back. With Governor Cuomo's significant commitment to protecting and restoring New York State's waters, and now the investment of $10 million by Empire State Development into a Buffalo Blueway system, this will become a catalyst and game changer we need for access to our waters. We know that when the waterways and the shorelines come back to life, the communities around them will come back to life, too."


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