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The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society launches its first "Why Not Buffalo?" public forum at 1 p.m. Sunday at the society's auditorium, 25 Nottingham Court.

Called "Envisioning a Thriving Waterfront," the forum will bring government officials, private developers, academics and journalists together to discuss some of the issues facing the stalled waterfront and how to move forward.

The discussion will then be open to the audience. Included in the guest panel will be Rep. Brian M. Higgins, Lynda Schneekloth from Friends of the Buffalo Niagara Rivers and developer Carl Montante Jr.

Robert G. Shibley, director of the University at Buffalo's Urban Design Project, will moderate the forum. Buffalo News staff reporter Phil Fairbanks, whose story on the stalled waterfront plans in First Sunday magazine inspired the historical society's forum, will represent the newspaper.

Kathleen Mathews, coordinator of the project, said the forum is designed to encourage networking and sharing ideas, rather than devising a plan of action. Mathews said the historical society plans additional forums to coincide with The News' ongoing "Why Not Buffalo?" series, which continues in Sunday's newspaper.

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