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New eatery Charlie's Boat Yard opens in Buffalo Harbor State Park

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Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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A new restaurant is opening for business - and expanding - in the space where Dug's Dive once stood. Elected officials were on hand to celebrate what they see as just another step toward turning a long-idled waterfront space into Buffalo's next hotspot.

Charlie's Boat Yard hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning at Buffalo Harbor State Park. The new eatery, which is opened for business, will add an outdoor bar and patio that is expected to be completed by Memorial Day Weekend.

"We plan on expanding our offerings to provide a wider range of food and choices for the public and the slip holders, with food delivery to the boats being on our agenda," said Mary Goodspeed, who co-owns the new restaurant with her husband Chuck and their business partner John Skipper.

Sam Hoyt, regional director of Empire State Development, boarded a small craft and ceremonially delivered a meal to a boat docked in the marina. He was one of several speakers who praised Albany for the ongoing plan to convert this long-dormant space into Buffalo's newest attractive waterfront destination.

"What we've seen at Canalside, we're attempting to develop out here on the Outer Harbor," Hoyt said. "And that is, a desirable place to recreate on the water, to bring people to picnic, to bring your family, and ultimately to have multiple events and amenities out here."

Nearby, work is set to begin on a $3.76 million breakwall rehabilitation project. It's the next phase in an overall $15 million capital improvement project. 

Congressman Brian Higgins, who for years called on the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to hand over its waterfront land, said that gone are the days of thinking by Buffalo residents that waterfront development would never happen in their lifetime.

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Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO
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Empire State Development's Sam Hoyt (on the right boat, in a blue shirt) delivered a meal to a boat on a marina slip as part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony opening Charlie's Boat Yard, a new restaurant operating in Buffalo Harbor State Park.

"We see an $80 million improvement to Fuhrmann Boulevard, once an old, broken industrial roadway that rendered these areas along the waterfront inaccessible," Higgins said. "We've seen an $11 million improvement to Ohio Street. Again, once an old, broken, disjointed industrial roadway. Now you see new development, residential development, commercial mixed uses, all along Ohio Street." 

Also speaking was Dave Signs, chief operating officer of Safe Harbor Development, which is partnering with New York State to operate the marina. Signs lives in Nashville, Tennessee and says Buffalo is showing signs it will soon enjoy the resurgence that happened in his hometown.

"Like Nashville, Buffalo is one of those towns, there's nowhere else like it," Signs said. "Buffalo, New York is the most amazing one-of-a-kind place and we're thrilled to be here. What you will see over the next 10 years down here will transform not only the waterfront but the town. It's going to be awesome." 

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Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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