Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Chairman Robert Gioia today announced that the agency plans to hold three community meetings to seek public input for the Outer Harbor blueprint due this fall.

Working with Empire State Development (ESD) and Perkins+Will, a San Francisco-based planning and architecture firm, ECHDC officials want Western New Yorkers to know that the public is welcome and encouraged to attend any and all of these meetings.

“We are determined to listen to what our residents want to see in the blueprint for Buffalo’s last frontier,” Gioia said. “This is your project. These meetings are open to everyone and are designed to solicit varied opinions and guidance from the region’s people. The design team is open to all suggestions within our guiding principles.”

“It’s about accessibility, diversity, planning and design, and financial sustainability,” Gioia added.

The meetings are set as follows:

  • Wednesday, July 9, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., WNED Studios, 140 Lower Terrace, Buffalo, NY 14203.
  • Thursday, July 10, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Makowski Early Childhood Center, 1095 Jefferson Ave., Buffalo, NY 14208.
  • Saturday, July 12, 9 – 11 a.m., Old First Ward Community Center, 62 Republic St., Buffalo, NY 14204.

Community members will participate in these open and inclusive public meetings by sharing ideas, learning about the planning process and engaging in planning games with Perkins+Will staff. (see pictures here)

In September 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his vision for a dramatic transformation of the City of Buffalo’s largely vacant Outer Harbor waterfront. This vision includes the transfer of approximately 350 acres of waterfront land from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to the ECHDC, whose mission and resources will better enable it to support and expedite the land’s redevelopment.

Approximately 190 acres of the transferred Outer Harbor lands, a small boat marina and a beach, is now a new state park and the first state park in the city of Buffalo under the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The remaining, adjacent land is primarily yet unplanned, but will ultimately feature mixed-use waterfront development under ECHDC’s
guiding principles.

ECHDC announced in April 2014 that the state was moving ahead on plans to redevelop and dramatically transform the soon-to-be-acquired state land holdings on the Outer Harbor into a vibrant and accessible waterfront for residents and tourists alike. The selection of Perkins+Will to lead the planning team began the process leading to a blueprint this fall.

For more information, please go to www.eriecanalharbor.com

About Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is governed by a nine-member board consisting of seven voting directors and two non-voting, ex-officio directors. The seven voting directors are recommended by the New York State Governor and are appointed by the New York State Urban Development Corporation d/b/a Empire State Development as sole shareholder of ECHDC. The two non-voting, ex-officio director positions are held by the Erie County Executive and the City of Buffalo Mayor.

As a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state’s chief economic development agency, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation supports and promotes the creation of infrastructure and public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor that is attracting critical mass, private investment and enhance the enjoyment of the waterfront for residents and tourists in Western New York. Its vision is to revitalize Western New York’s waterfront and restore economic growth to Buffalo based on the region’s legacy of pride, urban significance and natural beauty.