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ECHDC Board Meeting: Environmental Impact, Grants, Tiger, more

The ECHDC held their director’s meeting today inside Buffalo headquarters at 95 Perry Street to discuss activities pursuant to their ongoing development of the Buffalo waterfront. 

First on the agenda; A Generic Environmental Impact Statement on the Canal Side.  Specifically, this EIS targeted the impact of the size of Bass Pro in regards to air quality, parking and traffic, and is required to explore reasonable alternatives to the proposal.  In this case, the largest reasonable development size for the site is 1.5 million square feet, which is approximately 50 percent larger than the current size proposal.

Adam Walters, who represented Phillips Lytle (the law firm ECHDC has on retainer) claimed that the impact study projected that traffic over 20 years would be manageable inside of their target density.  He also suggested that traffic estimates in cities like Buffalo do not increase as much as cities experiencing steady population growth.

ECHDC has been aggressively pursuing funding for project development from a variety of sources, one being the Upstate Regional Blueprint Fund which recently made $120 million available for business investment in order to revitalize economic vitality in New York State. 

The ECHDC will be applying for $5 million under the grants Downtown Redevelopment scope to enhance tourism, cultural significance, and streestcape improvement. 

In May, the New York State Department of Transportation announced the TIGER Grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program, and that $1.5 billion is available in grant funding in order to “promote greater mobility, a cleaner environment, and more livable communities.” 

The ECHDC will be applying for $90 million of that money.  Of that price, $75 million would be required for building and material costs, and an estimated $15 million in “soft” costs, generally meaning consultation costs.  The TIGER grant would fund the Inner Harbor-Outer Harbor bridge project.

The board also noted that more Brownfield money will be available next month, for which they certainly plan on applying.

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