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Bass Pro contract expected soon

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By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-908732.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Officials say a Bass Pro store on Buffalo's waterfront is close to being a done deal.

The store was first proposed eight years ago. Since then, Bass Pro has had a hesitant relationship, at best, with local officials who have courted them. But Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Jordon Levy said Bass Pro officials are ready to commit. Levy said they expect to have a signed agreement within 60 days. But he was sparse on details.

WBFO asked Levy whether the agreement would include a ban on Bass Pro building another mega store within a 100 mile radius. Levy would only say that "it would be stupid" for officials to allow Bass Pro to do anything that would keep the store or the Canal Side project from being successful.

He said they will protect the community's investment.

JoAnne Howard from Amherst was one of those taxpayers. She was at Canal Side Monday listening to what is being planned. Howard said she visits Canal Side often and hopes officials will build cautiously, and protect what, so far, has developed into a pleasant waterfront experience.

Harbor development officials said they already have sent out requests for bids on further Canal Side construction. Bass Pro is expected to occupy about 130,000 square feet of the planned 1.1 million square foot project.