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Never before have I felt more disheartened about the future of the Buffalo area. In a recent "Everybody's Column" there were two letters addressing separate issues that are very much at the heart of our region's ability to step out of the economic stagnation that has consumed us for so long.

In the first article two Amherst Street residents oppose expanding the zoo into the eight-acre parcel north of the zoo. If we can't move it, and we can't expand it, what can we do to make the Buffalo Zoo an exhibit that will generate interest and tourist dollars?

Clearly, the zoo has lived a long life and provided great enjoyment for many a Western New York family. Just as clearly the zoo, in its current state, is not a tourist draw. It is time to help make the zoo a focal point in Western New York. I am a firm believer in constructing a new, state of the art zoo that will be one of the major anchors on the new Buffalo waterfront.

The second letter involves the decision to bury the Commercial Slip and construct a replica. Again, that appears to be a short-sighted answer. If the City of Buffalo and Erie County are not willing to put some money into the region, that is exactly what they can expect it to produce, nothing. We will remain in the stagnant situation we are in now, with many of our college students and family members having to leave the area in order to find satisfying and lucrative jobs.

If you would like to put the icing on the cake, add the decision to build a replica of the old and aesthetically unappealing bridge right next to the existing Peace Bridge -- another decision that shows me that there is no thought of the future of our region, just acceptance of the status quo.

Perhaps if there were more attractions like a new state of the art zoo, or an old historical district anchored by a real piece of Buffalo history, or a vibrant waterfront, we wouldn't have to read stories about the 46 percent drop in the economic impact of our convention bookings.

Unfortunately, I am beginning to believe people with foresight and imagination have already gotten fed up with the stagnation and moved away from Buffalo, leaving behind the status quo.


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