Cotter fireboat is an asset that ought to be preserved
Over the recent holidays, the Buffalo Fire Department’s fireboat Edward M. Cotter was open to the public. Those attending found out that despite our collective pride in the waterfront resurgence, Buffalo still has the chance to make a major mistake.
Commissioned in 1900, its arrival was closer to the opening of the Erie Canal than to our present times. Today, it totters to oblivion in plain sight of the community thrilled to this day by its moving sight in the harbor. Anyone spending time at Canalside would have to agree that after Niagara Falls, it is the most photographed object on the Niagara Frontier. Ironically the falls is the source of over $120 million in New York State Power Authority relicensing fees dedicated to our waterfront. Yet the Cotter is held together with bailing wire and duct tape. It needs approximately $800,000 in repairs to remain a working, moving, vibrant part of our waterfront heritage.
Why is no one stepping forward to advance its cause? Where are our politicians and civic leaders for this working, living history that still provides fire protection, and breaks winter ice to relieve flooding in South Buffalo, West Seneca, Elma, Cheektowaga and Lancaster? When the inevitable end comes, I can hear the collective chorus of “How did this happen?” and “How did we lose this treasure?”
Larry S. Fallon