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Harbor love: Syracuse inspired by Buffalo’s waterfront

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Buffalo’s waterfront developments are catching the eyes of nearby cities, even if the ventures are still largely a work in progress.

According to an article by the Syracuse Post-Standard editorial board on Syracuse.com, Buffalo’s smart use of public money in making simple changes to the Erie Canal Harbor has served as inspiration for Syracuse.

The large-scale renovations of the William J. Donovan State Office Building, across Washington Street from the Buffalo News, and the steady progress in digging canals at the former Memorial Auditorium site are key points in the article and encouraging for Buffalo’s future. The use of the Erie Canal Harbor area for Buffalo Place’s Thursday at the Harbor and Rocks the Harbor shows has boosted the local awareness of waterfront advances, and even smaller activities like the yoga and pilates classes that are held regularly.

One of the board’s key points at the bottom certainly strikes a chord with Buffalo’s current and future aims:

Preserving public access to the water β€” and public space near it β€” is critical. Once the water is walled off with private development, whether it be grain elevators or big retail establishments, it’s no longer a place that belongs to the people β€” a place where they want to hang out with friends, picnic with their families, take a Zumba class or go for a run.

Even more moves in this direction are on the horizon for Buffalo, too, as the prospect of bringing $300,000 worth of sand to Gallagher Beach near the Outer Harbor, to test its staying power, is expected soon. There is currently no site in Buffalo that allows for swimming on the waterfront.

Plans also continue to unfold for the Broderick Park and Bird Island Pier section of the waterfront, according to WGRZ. That project, expected to cost $750,000, will make certain areas of the waterfront more accessible to the public.

As these endeavors come to fruition, hopefully Buffalo’s waterfront becomes more of a point of pride than it is one of controversy and embarrassment. The progress is visible—tangible, even—but there’s still a ways to go.

(Header photo courtesy of Dave Marino from Grace Potter and Sam Roberts Gallery)

TAGGED: buffalo place, canalside, erie canal harbor, syracuse post-standard, waterfront

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