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Squaw Island to Get Visibility Lift

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo's Squaw Island has been called the City's best-kept waterfront secret. That's because it's nearly impossible to find. But State Assembly member Sam Hoyt hopes a $100,000 state grant announced yesterday will fix that.

You can read a report on the project by WBFO's Joyce Kryszak below, or hear it by clicking the "listen" icon above.

If you hear trains you could be getting close. Now keep heading west toward the Black Rock Canal. Weave around to the river off Niagara Street, go under the International Railroad Bridge then turn into the park entrance.

Still don't see it? It's up the hill, past all the weeds and rusted railings? Look again - it's there all right. After all, the reporters invited to the press conference found it - eventually.

Assembly member Hoyt apologized for everyone's trouble finding Squaw Island. But Hoyt said it really perfectly illustrates why the entrance needs to be improved.

The grant he secured will pay for new signage, railings, landscaping and lighting at the entrance to obscured park.

Nobody has been more concerned with improving public access to the park than Joe Kedron. He is president of the Northwest Buffalo Waterfront Review Committee, a group that has been trying to bring people to Squaw Island for twenty-years.

"All our persistence has paid off. You can see a nice park that's been developed on the other side of this bridge," said Kedron. "This project will help people find it a lot easier than they have been able to find it, and we welcome all the citizens of the city, as well as the region to come and discover this unique part of the river."

Squaw Island is actually a former toxic city dump. But a $15 million remediation project in the late nineties gave birth to the promise of another much loved waterfront space.

Now all people have to do is find it.

And just in case they miss the signs, motorists on Niagara Street will also be met with giant, colorful bridge art. Designer Mark Mistretta said the project could also lead the way to more.

"We want to make a statement here," said Mistretta. "And as you increase usership, there's going to be increased demand to complete these other projetcs."

The entrance project is expected to begin early next year, with completion possibly in time for the summer.