An Aug. 16 News article and several of Donn Esmonde's commentaries have raised the issue of whether to rebury some of the structures that we have uncovered at the Buffalo Inner Harbor.
As president of Dean and Barbour Associates, consultants to the design team for the Buffalo Inner Harbor, I believe two important facts are not receiving adequate attention.
The first is that the design team has made revisions to the plan so that significant archaeological remains will be left exposed for public viewing.
The second is more subtle. Not only are there significant costs involved in preserving these structures, there are serious technological impediments to preserving the exposed slip mall. Until a plan for preservation can be developed, the structures will be better preserved by being reburied than by being left exposed to the elements.
Furthermore, New York State law requires, and appropriately so, that before archaeological remains can be exposed for public viewing, they be protected from deterioration. A plan, proper technology and the money to implement them must be in place. Such a plan would require several years to design, fund and implement.
The proposed new slip is to be built in an area where archaeologically significant remains were badly disturbed when the railroads were built in the late 1800s. It is unlikely that any significant structures or archaeological remains will be disturbed during construction of the slip.
The waterfront in the mid-1800s was a vibrant and chaotic place. Change was the rule, not the exception. New slips were built when needed. Building a new slip now will disturb neither the archaeological record nor the spirit of the Inner Harbor.
We urge the interested parties to move ahead with the project as planned, which will not jeopardize the commercial slip or the undisturbed archaeological remains.
WARREN T.D. BARBOUR