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Outer Harbor plans draw wide interest

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Planners are closer to a final design for Buffalo's Outer Harbor. A Wednesday night meeting at the WNED studios gave the public a glimpse of what to expect.

This is the latest round in a compressed planning process. Wednesday night's meeting showed off three proposals from suggestions made last month.

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia says the results from last night's packed house will be put into a preferred plan to be presented next month. A final plan will be released later in September.

The area's most visible waterfront supporter, Rep. Brian Higgins, says the continuing rapid re-building of Ohio Street to the Outer Harbor is a sign of new hope for the Waterfront.
"It is a great time to be involved with Buffalo waterfront development," Higgins said.

"This process will wrap up in a couple of months and we will move...along with you toward a quick implementation to give people in this community the waterfront that they have hoped for and worked for for the past 50 years."

Higgins says the Harbor Bridge is the other critical piece of access to the Outer Harbor and that remains locked in the planning process in Washington.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
Members of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation presented their thoughts for public review in the WNED studios.

While many people liked some aspects of the three planning proposals, Pat Freeman expressed disappointment. Freeman has been pushing for an Outer Harbor football stadium home for the Buffalo Bills, an element not present in any of the proposals.

"They took the stadium discussion out of this and they put that on the governor's panel that is looking at that issue. If that's the case, then there are people here whose views are not being represented here," Freeman said.

"It's a stadium complex. It's not just a stadium and that's not fair."

The 190 acres of land for this development are adjacent to the current marina and a planned state park.

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.