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No Progress on Bass Pro since Deal Announced

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Two months have past since the city, county and state announced that there was an agreement to bring a Bass Pro shop to Buffalo. But it is unclear if a memo of understanding was signed.

Bass Pro skepticism surfaced once again this week. It happened when reporters asked Governor Pataki if Bass Pro will really happen in Buffalo? He says he is certain it is coming to the city, but is unclear if the actual MOU was signed.

"I don't know if it has been signed, but I have been talking with the Bass Pro people. They are very excited. It is going forward," Pataki said. "I never predict when, but it will be."

State Senator Dale Volker says the Bass Pro project is moving forward. Volker, who has an office at the Donovan State Office Building, says he's making plans to move out. Part of the Bass Pro deal includes that site to create an inter-modal transportation hub. It will be near the old Aud which will be the home of the new outdoor shop.

"I personally think the real reason why we don't have a signed MOU, is it is not necessary," Volker said. "Everyone knows it is happening. There is so much doom and gloom here. Let me just say that any project in Buffalo, if we let local people decide, we end up in a huge debate and people scream, just like they are doing on the waterfront right now."

The $123 million Bass Pro project requires $66 million in public funding, $14 million of that would come from the city and county.

But another month has passed, and the Buffalo Common Council is still waiting for details of the deal. North District Council Member Joe Golombek tells WBFO News, even after submitting a resolution requesting Bass Pro details, they still have no information.

"I think that is very unprofessional of them to do that," Golombek said. "There should be no discussion of this publicly until there is something concrete that is in front of us. When I go to block club and community meetings, people ask me what is going on with Bass Pro, and I say nothing. The reality is there is nothing in writing that is in front of the city of Buffalo as of yet."

Golombek says his request has basically fallen on deaf ears. He says he has asked the Mayor, but never received an "exact" answer.

For now, the Council says it is unable to take any action in approving the city's funding share until they see all the project and revenue details.