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Group calls for expansion of state park at Outer Harbor

Thomas O'Neil-White

Expand the Outer Harbor into a full state park is the message coming from the Partnership for the Public Good and a dozen other local groups who make up the Our Harbor Coalition. The Partnership released a report Monday, detailing a full analysis of the why a state park is best for the land.

Part of the land is already deemed a New York State Park and is run by an entity based in Tennessee. Senior Partnership Fellow and report author Sam Magavern said while the coalition is pleased with the work the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has done with the land, he believes the land is better off in the hands of the public.

“It’s really important to say ‘this is not a park, it’s not a state park,’” he said. “The Harbor Corporation can sell off pieces of it if they choose to.

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White
Members of the Our Outer Harbor Coalition. (Sam Magavern in the middle)

Magavern said the perpetuity of the park is important. He acknowledged many state run parks suffer from a lack of funding but believes philanthropy, corporations and individual donations would put the park in a better place as time goes by.

“We don’t want just any state park. We want a state park that is uniquely responsive to Buffalo,” he said. “It’s heritage. It’s expertise.”

Should the Outer Harbor become a full state park, Magavern said his coalition would push for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy to act as an advisory council.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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