The development of the Inner Harbor and the creation of the Canal Side business district has garnered a lot of attention (and rightfully so) in the past few months. Now that a certain national retailer that shall not be named is no longer part of the plan, it's time to focus on the local retailers and organizations that are dedicated to Buffalo and seeing this projection to the completion of a waterfront we can all be proud of.
Tonight, The Game Room (700 Main Street, above The Vault art gallery) is hosting the Buffalo Harbors Concert for Our Waterfront, a free show to benefit the Canal Side Community Alliance and Buffalo First! Both organizations have been an integral part of the Canal Side planning, especially in helping to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement.
Five musicians and a host of local eateries have come together to support the cause. Beginning at 8p.m., Stu Fuchs, On Guard, Mel Latimer, A Relative Term and Breckenwood will provide a night of music, from folk to rock. Caz Cafe, Liquid Energy Juice Bar and Flying Bison have all donated their beverages of choice, while Merge and Dolci Bakery will provide locally sourced, vegetarian-friendly bites and sweet treats.
Naturally, local businesses have an incentive to take the community's needs and interests into account because where they do business is also where they call home.
Beyond that, when you support local and independent, you are also supporting economic development. Local businesses account for half of all private-sector jobs and have created about 70 percent of the last decade's new jobs. They recycle more money back into our area, their employees are more secure in their jobs and the business owners know the importance of building relationships with their customers and the surrounding community.
A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) will ensure that such trends continue -- that the opportunity to set up shop and thrive at Canal Side is both available and viable. Because the project is so heavily subsidized by public funds, it seems obvious that the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation should use that money to support their public -- a local business community that is ready and willing to see Buffalo benefit from their commitment to and the development of this new area. The CBA allows for community control over the resources necessary to create good jobs, living wages and sustainable development in the area.
Members and supporters of the Canal Side Community Alliance will be on hand throughout the night to highlight the benefits of a CBA, explain their involvement in the Canal Side planning process and petition the community to get involved. Interactive exhibits, including videos, informational displays and a poster design project, will also provide more details on the development process.
Although the event is free and open to all ages, a $5 suggested donation will be gladly accepted and greatly appreciated. All money raised goes directly to CSCA and Buffalo First!'s efforts to foster community involvement in and negotiate a CBA for Canal Side.