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HarborCenter's potential ripple effects

Brian Meyer/WBFO

A lot of attention has focused on projects at Canalside. But a one-time industrial neighborhood not far from HarborCenter could see major spinoff benefits from the downtown development boom. WBFO talked with community leaders who see a bright future for Ohio Street

In its heyday, Ohio Street was an industrial Goliath. In recent decades, it was an area filled with empty buildings and vacant lots. But neighborhood leaders are convinced Ohio Street is now ideally positioned to become a link between the Inner Harbor and Outer Harbor.

Silo City owner Rick Smith believes this once-overlooked area can become a popular heritage tourism corridor and attracts out-of-towners who are in the region to visit Niagara Falls. He added that new hotels in the Canalside area will make it more likely that tourists will spend an extra night exploring venues along the waterfront.

“The more mass you get downtown, the better it is for everybody,” Smith said. “We can use the momentum that we’ve created over the last several years to really look at getting Buffalo on a map.”

It’s all about creating and marketing a diverse array of activities, says Peg Overdorf, who  heads the Valley Community Association and helped found Buffalo River fest Park.

“More will bring more,” she said. “I think the more events, the more venues we have, the more people will come.”

Nearly $13 million are being spent to transform Ohio Street into a tree-lined parkway. Overdorf says some adjacent streets will need work at some point, but she’s convinced the Ohio Street Corridor will help encourage visitors to spend longer periods in Buffalo.