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POLITICS ASIDE, IT'S TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK

The smoke has cleared. With Election Day over, it's time to celebrate not our differences, but the things we have in common. In other words, those nagging things that bugged everyone, Republican and Democrat alike, before the election -- and can bug us again now that the brouhaha is over.

It's time, in short, for a good old game of "Where Are They Now?" -- or, more appropriately to Buffalo, "Where Are They At?"

Here's a brief update:

* The Superspan: Designs are still coming in, the latest from one Christian Menn, who submitted a blueprint before but now admits he can do better. But, gosh, haven't we been talking about this since at least 1997? Assemblyman Sam Hoyt says that environmental studies, not yet completed, are currently the biggest obstacle holding the project up. The earliest we can hope for construction, he estimates, is four years from now. "But it will happen," he promises.

* The Bass Pro Outdoor World store: We seem to have this fish on the line; an announcement is expected any day. Eva Hassett, Mayor Anthony Masiello's chief of staff, says Buffalo negotiations are down to their last little details. She points out that the Bass Pro president said as much recently, when a glitzy Bass Pro shop, complete with a big waterfall, opened outside Toronto.

* The Central Terminal clock: It's still in that Chicago antique shop, called Architectural Artifacts, priced at $25,000. Shop owner Stuart Grannen says that Russell Pawlak of Central Terminal Restoration Corp. has put down a "small deposit" on it. "They have a couple more weeks to come up with the money," Grannen says. "We really want you folks to have it. It's not doing any good here."

* The Richardson Complex: The $100 million set aside by Albany to refurbish this massive complex is just sitting there. Hoyt, who led the effort to secure the funding, says that it's up to the governor to create (you guessed it) a task force to get the ball rolling. "He hasn't done so yet, but I think he will," Hoyt says. "It's time we spent the money. If we don't spend it, we'll lose it."

* The Fast Ferry between Rochester and Toronto: It's still sunk, financially speaking.

* The Cobblestone District: The historic tract near the waterfront is still there. But it could be getting a boost, says Hassett. She points out that its's just a stone's throw (get it?) from the renovated Larkin Exchange Building and that, furthermore, the nearby Perry Projects are being spiffed up. "There has already been a ton of investment in those areas," she says.

* The West Seneca Ice Rink: Would you believe they seem to have struck a compromise? Environmentalist types objected to developer Sam Savarino's plan to build a gigantic $40 million recreation complex on land on the Buffalo River currently owned by Mecca Farms. Savarino now says he will consider other sites. The plan has not yet been formally proposed.

* The 700-foot pro-life arch over Buffalo's waterfront: Plans have not been aborted, according to Buffalo lawyer Laurence D. Behr. "I believe we're gathering momentum," Behr says. "It's a movement, not a building project. People are joining our ranks all the time across the United States and Canada. People in foreign lands are excited about it." Behr won't say how much of the arch's projected cost (up to $100 million) has been secured, but he says that fund-raisers have been hired and that events will be planned.

* The nose on the vandalized statue of the ram outside the Buffalo Zoo: Still chopped off. (OK, this might not matter to everyone. It does to me).

* Jimmy Mac's, the Elmwood Avenue bar that closed, supposedly because of the smoking ban: Still closed, though there has been talk of a sale to another restaurant operator. As we said, the smoke has cleared.

e-mail: mkunz@buffnews.com

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