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Latest funding for Greenway projects continues the job of rebuilding access

Funding from the New York Power Authority continues the job of remaking the Buffalo Niagara waterfront.

As reported by T.J. Pignataro in The News, the latest projects include a kayak and canoe launch at a small Scajaquada Creek park, renovations at Riverside Park and a boathouse to serve the local rowing community.

These pockets of development all tie in to help improve access to the water.

Toward that end is the geographically significant Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper’s planned community paddlesport launch at 1660 Niagara St.

Riverkeeper officials intend to devote the organization’s $602,000 grant toward the project, which they said further builds on the momentum along the Niagara Street corridor and provides access for a community now cut off from the water.

This neighborhood is where recently announced Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant funding will enhance streetscape aesthetics while addressing storm water issues that hinder Western New York’s blue economy.

Jill Jedlicka, Riverkeeper executive director, credited key partners such as Black Rock Riverside Good Neighbor Planning Alliance with moving the park project along. This cooperation is enablings the group to “acquire this brownfield and continue forward progress on Buffalo Niagara’s rust-to-blue transformation.”

Imagine a future greenspace and kayak launch at the planned “micro-park,” which officials say will remedy a major gap in the Niagara River Greenway while bringing new life to a neighborhood currently cut off from its waterfront. Moreover, it creates a highly visible public space.

The biggest of the grants will help the waterfront in another way. Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy plans to use its $729,000 award to restore the roof and upgrade bathrooms at the circa-1952 Crowley Avenue Shelter in Riverside Park and provide new playground equipment, paint and “general landscape restoration.”

The Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association will get $100,000 to further its boathouse project, and the Cazenovia Community Boating Center, which operates its “Sail Buffalo” program, will get $157,365.

The smallest of the five awards, $35,000, goes to the Niagara 1812 Bicentennial Legacy Council to help build a Battle of Lake Erie replica sloop.

Small or large, these Greenway projects continue the job of knitting together our long-neglected waterfront, making a positive impact on the environment, the economy and our quality of life.