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Waterfront agency buys 14 acres on Outer Harbor

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. on Monday voted to buy 14 acres on the Outer Harbor from the New York Power Authority for $1.

The land includes the Connecting Terminal grain elevator, which the agency has lighted as a daily attraction; the Queen City Bike Ferry landing; and a marina run by Brand–On First Buffalo Marina, which is under contract with the power authority until Febrary.

The board of directors also moved closer on several planned recreational and visitor projects, some of which could be in operation in 2017.

The $1.5 million contract with Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects includes environmental studies, structural and building surveys and architectural and engineering design services in preparation of being put out to bid next year.

“The improvements that TWLA will be planning build on prior incremental improvements at the Outer Harbor using the ‘lighter, quicker, cheaper’ approach,” said Robert Gioia, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. “The project will fill in existing access gaps, expand public usage of our waterfront and provide additional activities that will increase visitation to the Outer Harbor.”

The agency’s board of directors approved the projects in November 2015. They will be funded with $5 million from the Buffalo Billion initiative.

The additions include:

•Creating a visitor center at the Bell Slip, with pedestrian and bicycle amenities;

•Completing the southern end of the Greenbelt bike loop, including pedestrian and bicycle amenities;

•Redeveloping the Michigan Pier into a multi-use flex space by clearing, capping and re-grading the 8-acre site to accommodate an adult playground, workout area, ropes course, foot/bicycle paths (doubling as cross-country ski trails) and cantilevered trail section (doubling as a fishing pier);

• Developing two overlook locations adjacent to the Bell Slip for painting, photography, birding and astronomy;

• Installing signs from Gallagher Beach to the Buffalo Lighthouse to highlight key public locations and distances;

• Constructing a mountain bike course(s) within a six-acre area bounded by the Bell Slip, Lake Erie and Fuhrmann Boulevard.

email: msommer@buffnews.com

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