Congressman Brian Higgins applauded today’s action by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) to construct sand beaches at Gallagher Beach and the Outer Harbor Parcel that was once the home of the NYPA Ice Boom.
“If you took a walk or bike ride along the Gallagher Beach boardwalk this summer you noticed people making Buffalo’s waterfront their own, which included beach activities at Gallagher,” said Congressman Higgins. “The public is way ahead of us on this. Prior to today they had to settle for less than they deserve. This community, this city, deserves beachfront destinations and sandy areas to unfold their chairs and enjoy our waterfront and this action by the Erie Canal Harbor Board does just that.”
The construction of sandy beaches along the Outer Harbor will be funded with approximately $300,000 secured through the New York Power Authority Relicensing Agreement. Work will begin to place sand at the two sites this fall. The sustainability of the sand will be tested after placement and again after the winter to determine next steps toward full scale beach development.
Congressman Higgins has long advocated for the placement of sand at the Gallagher Beach site in particular. Higgins first sought commencement of the project in 2005 in federal legislation. In 2010, Higgins included creation of a sand beach in his waterfront plan presented to ECHDC following Bass Pro’s withdrawal from consideration at Canalside. In addition, Gallagher Beach became the first waterfront development project in Western New York when in 2003, then-Assemblyman Brian Higgins, pushed for and won the start of a $4 million boardwalk and improvement project along the stretch.
Higgins noted the sand beaches provide a welcome addition to other improvements recently completed or now underway at the two sites. Below is a summary of developments in those specific areas:
· $3.3 million project funded with NYPA Relicensing Agreement Proceeds
· Adjacent to Times Beach on a portion of the 21 acres of property comprised of land previously used by NYPA for storage of the ice boom and an additional property formerly owned by Cargill
· Project to include shoreline stabilization, unique landscape features, ADA compliant natural features, wind sculptures, a comfort station and pedestrian trails
· In addition to the public facilities, a portion of the site will be made shovel ready for future private development
· Construction set to begin September 2012 and completed by next summer.
· Total project cost $1.4 million in federal funding
· Includes creation of a pavilion and picnic area at Gallagher Beach and construction of a boardwalk and decorative signage.
· Completed: May 2012