Last summer, with the help of Councilman Bryan Davis and the City of Buffalo, a beach was established at the Erie Basin Marina. Before Emerald Beach could become a reality I met with Tim Wanamaker (Economic Renaissance Corporation) to pitch the idea. At the time I presented every reason as to why the beach was possible – for every hurdle there was a solution. What if the driftwood returned? What if people drowned? What if the water wasn’t clean enough? What if there wasn’t enough parking? What if the boaters didn’t want it? What if people didn’t use it? What about litter? Would the boardwalk blow away? The list went on and on. But that was OK, because at the end of the day Mayor Brown gave his blessing and downtown had a beach… albeit small (see back story).
Sometimes you have to start small in order to show that something works. Did it work? I think so. After fielding questions from a number of BRO viewers, I decided to head on over to Emerald Beach yesterday to see if it was still there. Had the winter destroyed it? Was it covered with drift wood? Had the end of the Erie Basin Marina broken off and floated down the river after the ice boom was removed? Nope. Not only was it still there, it looked great. If two people went down there with rakes, the beach would be ready for a new season later this afternoon.
So that leaves us with an even bigger question. If the beach is still there, and nothing terrible happened as some people thought would happen, why not double it in size? This beach offers so much bang for not much buck. A bigger beach would draw more people. More people get to enjoy the waterfront. The waterfront gets a better image. Imagine what would happen if there was a concerted effort to make this beach a true lakeside destination? More beach chairs and sunbathers. More children playing in the sand. More families of all ethnicities enjoying a place that brings people together to play and relax. Why not capitalize on what appears to be a success?