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Another Voice: Inner Harbor is a shining example of city’s renaissance

By Maurice A. John Sr. and Barry E. Snyder Sr.

With the start of summer, the excitement and energy in Buffalo’s Inner Harbor area is sure to reach a fever pitch. This area of downtown has quickly become a point of pride and a destination of choice for a growing number of people from both within Western New York and far beyond.

This wasn’t always the case.

When the Seneca Nation first invested in our 9-acre Buffalo Creek Territory, little was taking place to draw people to the Inner Harbor area of downtown Buffalo. An unprecedented wave of development momentum, investment and growth has followed. Today, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino is one of the key components of this sea change.

The City of Buffalo, under the leadership of Mayor Byron Brown, has been a tremendous partner in helping the Inner Harbor realize its full potential. Canalside, HarborCenter, the redevelopment of the Fairmont Creamery building and the expansion of the Lofts at Elk Terminal are just some of the projects that have added to the ongoing transformation.

Visit Buffalo Niagara is working with us to help spread the word to those from outside the region, so they can discover for themselves everything that the area has to enjoy. The remnants of the city’s industrial past have given way to a future built on tourism and entertainment.

This sort of economic revitalization only occurs when business and community leaders have an active and vested interest in the region. In an area that was starved for development and investment not long ago, the Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corp. have invested nearly $200 million.

When our current $40 million expansion is complete, approximately 800 people will work at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, helping to entertain the more than 3 million annual visitors.

The $1 million community revitalization fund that we supported a few years ago helped to spur several beautification, lighting and infrastructure projects in the surrounding neighborhood, and our growth has supported countless other jobs through our business relationships with local vendors and the hard-working construction trades people who have built our projects.

With more growth and activity on the way, the Inner Harbor stands as a shining example of Buffalo’s renaissance, which has captured the attention and imagination of people across the country and around the world. The Seneca Nation and Seneca Gaming Corp. have enjoyed a front-row seat and an active role in seeing this transformation take place. We are excited about what lies ahead.

Maurice A. John Sr. is president of the Seneca Nation of Indians. Barry E. Snyder Sr. is chairman of the Seneca Gaming Corp.