I applaud the Horizons Commission's newly unveiled waterfront plan. It envisions a bright future of impressive development for our waterfront.
It is necessary to temper this vision, however, with some harsh reality.
Much of what has been proposed, particularly in Buffalo's Outer Harbor area, is expensive commercial and residential development.
Given today's recessionary economy, tight credit, and the state's fiscal crisis, the likelihood that we will see such development in the near future is slim.
Major funding, public or private, may simply not be available.
There is a way to begin realizing the dream of waterfront access and to deliver that which Western New Yorkers have been demanding. Let's start by looking at how people are already using the waterfront -- for fishing, windsurfing, biking, and jogging.
We can begin to enhance these and other uses by removing some debris, building some paths, and simply opening up areas such as the beach south of Shooters restaurant.
We windsurfers don't demand pristine beaches from which to sail so long as they are clean and safe (conditions we generally help to maintain).
We do believe, though, that a modest investment can yield vast improvements for all waterfront users.
Let's seize the opportunity now to realize some small, achievable goals. These can be the stepping stones to greater achievements in the future.
Access Committee Chairman
WNY Sailboard Association