I’ve been taking my dog down to the LaSalle Park seaplanes’ ramp for years. Sometimes I run into others who are also looking to get down to the water’s edge. Other times it’s just me and my dog. This year I’ve noticed that there is a lot more activity over at the ramp, and I believe that it’s due to the overall increased activity seen at the park. LaSalle Park is becoming a place to go for kite flying, picnicking (thanks to the picnic shelters), soccer, softball, kite flying, and jogging. It’s also the home of the The Barkyard (dog park), and the Centennial Pool (in the midst of renovation). New trees have been planted, and many of the small sinkholes along the water’s edge have been filled in.
Maybe… just maybe… now that there is a newfound interest in the park, we should be looking at the bigger picture by initiating the smaller ones. When I see all of the activity at the seaplane ramp, it’s hard not to envision what could and should be done with it. I picture a new cement covering with a finely raked surface to prevent slipping. Throw some railings up on either side to prevent people (and dogs) from falling in. Add some low benches that take the place of the giant log. Throw in a couple of ‘No Swimming’ signs (like the ones at Emerald Beach), take away the concrete barriers that prevent people from easily accessing the ramp, while adding attractive smaller barriers to prevent vehicles from entering.
There’s no reason that this former seaplane ramp should not become a public asset immediately. It’s kinda like building sidewalks when you see Paths of Desire. We already know that people are going to use it. It’s more dangerous now since there are no safety precautions in place. This appears to be a low cost high impact sort of project. It’s just another way to get people down to the waterfront for the right reasons. Our waterfront is not just the Inner Harbor – first look at Tow Path Park (done), then Broderick (in the works), then LaSalle… it’s time to take back our waterfront amenities any way that we can.
Expand Emerald Beach. Add real sand to Gallagher Beach (instead of the painful course pebbles that were dumped there). Get the project moving at the Buffalo Lighthouse (currently Coast Guard). Move the Ice Boom already and turn that into a public beach (Ice Boom Beach – photo below). Or even better (and quicker), leave the Ice Boom there and call it Ice Boom Beach. Clear off the seaweed and set up some beach chairs. Let the people come down to the water and learn the importance of the Ice Boom while having a picnic. It’s beautiful there already, but people are not allowed in to explore. It’s not like you can hurt an ice boom. And they are too big to trip over. There was a beach there at one point… so why not now? Maybe the Canadians want the ice boom on their side for a while as we get out waterfront working again.
We’ve made some good progress with the Outer Harbor bike trail, and some other poor decisions with building up Route 5. All in all, we have the potential and we’re seeing some results. More please?