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Park planners take next step in Black Rock

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WBFO News by Mike Desmond
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It's now known as Black Rock Canal Park, a neglected riverside public parcel that organizers are determined to transform.

The park is trapped between the Thruway and the Niagara River, with a decrepit shelter building which apparently hasn't been used in years and is now surrounded by high fencing. 

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After years of efforts from the surrounding community, there's a million dollars in construction coming to the park, including demolition of the shelter house with a long-term goal of a much-larger replacement.

That's the product of the Black Rock Canal Park Steering Committee which has spent a decade going from drawing lines on paper to seeing a ground-breaking.

Chair Margaret Sczepaniec says it will be great.

"We're right off the 190 and we're right between the on and off ramps and it's very, very accessible," Sczepaniec said.

"It's got great fishing. We are building a dog park. We're extending the pier. We're doing educational things for fishing. There is going to be so much down here. It's not just for one type of users. We want diverse users down here. we're going to open all year round."

Most people won't have heard of the park because it's a merger of the old Ontario Street Boat Launch and Cornelius Creek Park.  

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It's the latest phase of a green chain beginning to connect along the 37 miles of river between Buffalo and Youngstown.

"Things are starting to develop. You're starting to see the dots connect. It's going to take time,"
said Rob Belue, executive director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission.

Belue says the greenery on the U.S. side of the river will gradually compete with the greenery along the river in Ontario.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.