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Higgins floats plan for parks on the Outer Harbor

Chris Caya WBFO News

Funding dedicated for Buffalo's waterfront should be spent on parkland, not parking ramps, according to Rep. Brian Higgins.At a press conference Tuesday morning at Wilkeson Pointe, off Furhmann Boulevard, Higgins said that since parking structures are self-financing, the limited resources for the waterfront would be better spent improving public access.

"The dense residential development that Erie Canal Harbor Development's consultant has recommended for the Outer Harbor, in the explanation, they say that they need that tax revenue to build parks. I'm simply looking at a new creative way to finance what is outlined in the parks component of their plan for the Outer Harbor," said Higgins.

Plans for Canalside include over $19 million for parking structures, which Higgins said is enough money to build several more pocket parks along Furhmann Boulevard.

In response, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Chairman Robert Gioia, sent a letter to Higgins, which included:

"While many people have expressed a desire for housing, others are worried that the preliminary plan has too much residential space on it. We have learned from other waterfront development in cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, that the plan will need economic activity in order to be financially feasible and maintain a user base sufficient to support other activities. The public preference for housing for multiple income levels that would maintain public access to the waterfront is reflected in the plan. This housing will be market driven and will not be comparable to the exclusive housing that limits public access at the Inner Harbor, Gioia said.

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