After years of making due with no real beaches along our waterfront, there are efforts being made to right the wrong. At one point there was an attempt to put a beach in at Gallagher Beach, but it turned out to be course pebbles instead of sand. Apparently the strategy was to add finer pebbles on top of the course pebbles, and then sand on top of that, but the follow through never happened and we were stuck with a well-intentioned project that was never completed (see Pebble Beach). “The public is way ahead of us on this,” said Congressman Higgins. “Prior to today they had to settle for less than they deserve. This community, this city, deserves beachfront destinations and sandy areas to unfold their chairs and enjoy our waterfront and this action by the Erie Canal Harbor Board does just that.”
The action that Higgins is referring to is in regards to a recent announcement made by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) “to construct sand beaches at Gallagher Beach and the Outer Harbor Parcel that was once the home of the NYPA Ice Boom.” That means that within a short bike ride Buffalo’s Outer Harbor will be home to two beach destinations. Along with Gallagher Beach, a sandy stretch of waterfront situated adjacent to Times Beach will also be opened as a beach destination. The condition of the sand at that site is actually already quite good compared to Gallagher Beach. The area is need of a clean-up and public access points, but in general this should not be a heavy lift (see Ice Boom Beach). When the Ice Boom was relocated to a parcel of land next to Mutual Riverfront Park (see post), the land at the Outer Harbor was freed up for just this sort of activity. And now, with the Master Plan for this parcel in place (see post), the plan to bring two new beaches back to life is welcome news.
According to a press release from Higgins, “The construction of sandy beaches along the Outer Harbor will be funded with approximately $300,000 secured through the New York Power Authority Relicensing Agreement. Work will begin to place sand at the two sites this fall. The sustainability of the sand will be tested after placement and again after the winter to determine next steps toward full scale beach development.”