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Open house will allow area residents to review three proposals for Outer Harbor redevelopment

If you have an idea about what should done with the Outer Harbor, you will have a chance to put in your two cents at a “community open house” next week.

Public input and “scoring” on three possible scenarios for the Outer Harbor are on the agenda for the meeting Wednesday.

Area residents will be able to review three plans that a consultant prepared after getting feedback from nearly 600 community members who participated in three forums last month.

“The public will now have an opportunity to thoroughly review the plans and score them,” said Robert Gioia, chairman of the state agency overseeing efforts to redevelop the city’s waterfront. “This process will take us one step closer to a final design for this most important piece of waterfront property.”

The plans concern future options for redevelopment of about 160 acres of industrial land along the Lake Erie shore, using guidelines for open space, waterfront access, private investment and economic activity developed by a nine-member Waterfront Development Advisory Committee. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown selected the committee.

That land is part of a larger 350-acre tract that was transferred from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. The other 190 acres is now the first state park in the city.

The open house will be held at the WNED Studios at 140 Lower Terrace in Buffalo, with two full presentation and feedback sessions from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Each program will start with a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation, including a summary and analysis of the input from the three forums, how that was used to frame the three concepts, and a presentation of the three proposals. The proposals come from San Francisco- and New York City-based consultants of Perkins+Will.

That will be followed by the scoring process, in which participants can review and grade eight different aspects of the three concepts at three-sided “stations” or presentation areas. Each station focuses on one aspect or category, with specifics of one of the three design options on each side of the station.

Each station will be staffed by at least one person to give guidance and answer questions, and participants will be given a scorecard to rate each of the three alternatives in each of eight categories. The eight categories include access and mobility, open space, ecology and resiliency, health and recreation, land use, waterfront culture, human comfort, and creating and enhancing views.

Attendees will be asked to complete the scorecards that evening and leave them in a box before they leave, but can also return them later. Participants may attend both sessions to help them decide. Anyone who is unable to attend but wishes to participate will be offered alternative ways to submit feedback online or in person.

Results will be used to develop the draft “preferred plan” by early September, prior to a final opportunity for public comment before a final blueprint is compiled later that month, with both a long-term strategy that has some flexibility as well as certain items that can be implemented immediately. The final plan will be released in October.