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Eight projects in Erie County get $2 million for Greenway; Bird Island Pier awarded $750,000 for rebuilding

The Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee on Wednesday awarded more than $2 million to eight projects designed to enhance the Niagara River Greenway in Erie County.

The projects were among 12 that were submitted to the committee for public review at a meeting in February and bring to 27 the number of projects that the committee has approved since its inception in 2008.

"We did the best we could and funded projects that most merited our funds," Gary L. Mucci, chairman of the standing committee, said after the committee's meeting in Marcy Casino at Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park.

The committee awarded $750,000 to the Bird Island Pier Reconstruction Project, which aims to reopen the recreational walkway that extends south from the platform below the Peace Bridge to a platform at the mouth of the Niagara River. That portion of the pier has been closed to the public since August 2010 because of the loss of structural support for sections of the concrete walkway.

The City of Tonawanda will receive $250,000 for the stabilization of the city's shoreline along the Niawanda Park River Walk Trail that runs parallel to the Niagara River along Niagara Street.

The committee awarded $220,350 to the Olmsted Parks Conservancy for continued improvements to Riverside Park and $435,000 to the conservancy for upgrades to Front Park. Both parks are in Buffalo.

The committee awarded $15,000 for improvements along the Seaway Trail on the shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

The Valley Community Association will receive $104,000 for improvements planned at Riverfest Park in Buffalo, while the Town of Grand Island will get $164,000 for updates at Scenic Woods Park.

The Niagara Bicentennial of the War of 1812 Legacy Council was awarded $128,000.

With the awards announced Wednesday, the committee has committed almost $10 million to the establishment of the Niagara River Greenway in Erie County. The committee receives $2 million a year from the New York Power Authority as part of the settlement agreement for the 50-year license renewal that the authority received in 2007 for the Niagara Power Project.

The committee is made up of representatives of Erie County, the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the Power Authority.