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Plans forming for Outer Harbor

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The final design plan for Buffalo's Outer Harbor should be ready in about a month. The next step will focus on how to pay for the plan.

A packed house in the WNED studios last night listened to the latest version of a plan for the area along Lake Erie. Design for the site has gone through a series of possibilities, with the plan shown last night roughly what the final version from Perkins + Will might be next month.

It features large areas of open space along with three residential neighborhoods and an array of indoor and outdoor recreational areas. The plan also calls for the Metro Rail to be extended across the Buffalo River on a new harbor highway bridge for access.

"It's going to take significant investment," said Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation President Tom Dee.

"It's going to depend on the state to come forward. It's going to come for the federal government to come forward. And, then obviously, I like the idea of sponsorships. I like philanthropy."

Dee says the design plan may be in the immediate future while there will have to be extensive environmental studies. He says there might be some work within months when it can be done without interfering with environmental review.

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.