The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is soliciting input for the Outer Harbor via public meetings, and an online survey, as part of its access and activation initiative. From details contained on the website, the development focus is on nature activities such as bird and butterfly watching and other passive recreational activities.
While I like nature as much as the next person, I think the focus has to be mixed use including developing infrastructures that will contribute to the tax rolls for the city and state. Permanent structures such as a festival/concert mphitheater, light industrial business (that remind us of the Outer Harbor’s industrial past) and even high-end housing to create a new Buffalo “suburb” should be considered.
If the Outer Harbor became a new waterfront housing destination, with real neighborhood amenities such as grocery stores, retail and professional offices, it could be a big boon for bringing the population back closer to the city center.
The north end of the Outer Harbor could focus on nature (including a beach you can swim in) while the middle and southern end, near Terminal B, could be where the new suburb/neighborhood and light industrial could be located.
The Queen City Landing apartment building, which is private funded development, would be a good gauge to determine if housing in the Outer Harbor is really sustainable. Terminal B could then be a candidate for converting to waterfront lofts/housing near the Queen City Landing neighborhood.
ECHDC has hired three different consulting firms for the Outer Harbor. Local business leaders and developers need to be interviewed/included by the consulting firms as well as researching other cites with successful mixed use waterfronts.
The Outer Harbor is a huge piece of prime lakefront property and it should be utilized for a cross section of initiatives.
Susan M. Burns