The shoreline along RiverFest park will be restored under plans by Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. Across the way at Buffalo RiverWorks there are plans for a more active use where Niagara River Greenway funding is being sought to construct a pedestrian wharf and docks at the burgeoning sports and entertainment spot taking shape on the west bank of the Buffalo River not far from downtown.
RiverWorks is an $18 Million, privately financed development by local developers and business owners Earl Ketry and Doug Swift. They have planned for a publicly accessible walkway and docks along their 720 feet of Buffalo riverfront. An easement along the entirety of their river frontage and a license to pass through their facility will be conveyed to the Old 1st Ward Community Association in order to ensure that the public will have consistent access to this riverfront location, even when the event venue is closed for private events.
Buffalo RiverWorks is said to be the first example of full reuse (non-original use) of a grain elevator in Buffalo. Converting a part of the old GLF grain operation into the “Six-Pack” (brewery location), “Stonehenge” (beer garden location) and “Medusa’s Front Porch.”
The remainder of the nine-acre site will play host to a lineup of amenities including two outdoor, sheltered hockey rinks; the world’s first ever, purpose-built, permanent, flat-track roller derby track; a 6,000+ person concert and event venue; five bars; a 450 person sit-down restaurant, with views of the Buffalo River; a micro brewery that will supply direct tank-to-tap beer throughout the facility; an outdoor beer garden; a martial arts dojo as well as a number of smaller, programmable spaces for private event hosting.
There currently exists a concrete wharf along the entirety of RiverWorks’ river frontage. This wharf and its pylons will act as the foundation for the public walkway as well as the anchor point for the public-access docks.
In addition to the easement along the river’s edge, there will be a license created to allow public access through the RiverWorks site via the facility’s parking lot along Ganson Street. This will ensure that people can still access the wharf and docks even when RiverWorks is closed to the public when hosting a private event.
There will also be a public kayak launch, similar to the one found at Mutual Riverfront park RiverWorks will provide kayak valet service, which will allow kayakers to pull up to the driveway and drop off their kayak(s) to have them carried down to the launch point.
The third public access point will be for incoming water vessels. Any boater that wants to pull up to the RiverWorks dock, in order to enjoy the facility or to simply enjoy the view from the wharf, will be free to do so. The dock facility will be the same design as the dock located at RiverFest Park.
The Old 1st Ward Community Association is requesting $300,000 in Greenway funds in order to help RiverWorks fund and build this integral portion of its development. The docks, wharf and access facilities have a construction cost of $900,000.
The Niagara River Greenway Commission will be considering the funding application at its meeting at 3 pm today. Other projects being reviewed include a shoreline and trail restoration project at Cazenovia Park, a South Loop Trail project at Riverside Park, Reptile House renovations at the Buffalo Zoo, and funding for the third phase of Black Rock Canal Park.