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Mayor Challenges Public to Have Faith in Major Projects

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – No one is more optimistic about the future of downtown development then Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello. But he wishes Western New Yorkers had a little more faith.

"I'm more optimistic. I don't know why other people are not," Masiello said.

After years of failed attempts to develop Buffalo's waterfront, many Western New Yorkers lack faith. Masiello says he realizes there is a great deal of anxiety, but says economic development projects like a Bass Pro store and Seneca Nation casino take time to prepare.

"Every major project that we have to deal with in this city, regardless of whether people like it or not, takes three years from start to finish," Masiello said.

But Masiello says preliminary work for Bass Pro is already underway at the former Memorial Auditorium.

"This is a complicated project," Masiello said. "You have to gut the Aud. They're doing their engineering and architectural designs. I believe this is moving forward. But I think it will bring peace of mind when the legal contracts are dealt with."

Bass Pro originally set a tentative opening date of 2007 for its downtown store. Masiello still believes that is possible to achieve.

"I believe in my heart that they will open in Spring 2007. If it happens in late Fall 2006, I'd be ecstatic. I'll be there watching from a distance as the ribbon is cut."

As for a future casino, Masiello says even though the Senecas already purchased land in the historic Cobblestone District, he believes the DL&W Terminal would be the best fit for a new city casino.