As the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and the City of Buffalo get their acts together concerning the waterfront, a potentially detrimental issue is lurking along the Buffalo River. At an Old First Ward community meeting, a new scrap operation (Nickel City Shredding and Recycling) is in the midst of taking shape, which would replace the old scrapyard operation (Gerdau Ameristeel) next to Silo City at 776 Ohio Street.
This issue has been extremely low key and quiet for some reason, especially considering that the plan is going before the Common Council next week.
The community has not had an opportunity to weigh in on this at all, apart from a sparsely attended community meeting, which was not overly publicized for obvious reasons. At a time when so many momentous projects are gaining speed around this part of the city, is a new scrap operation at the waterfront something that we should be considering?
For years, commercial and residential neighbors in close proximity to the scrap operation have hoped that the day would come when the scrap operation would be relocated inland, away from the waterfront.
According to a concerned citizen who attended the meeting, “This is the same company that was trying to go into Black Rock/Riverside (Hertel/Military) with the same sort of thing two years ago, but that project got stopped. Perhaps they’re shopping for a location where the neighborhood squawks less? They’re working with a lobbyist, like they did two years ago — then it was Joel Giambra, now it’s Larry Rubin. They’re offering public access to the Buffalo River shoreline (50′ width), so that’s positive… but the question is, is the Buffalo River, and Ohio Street, now the right place for any kind of scrap operation — in 2015?”
Does this type of business need to be near the water? Doesn’t The City own some land somewhere, away from the water, where this plant could be built? And then clean this mess up for public/private use that is in tandem with some of the other objectives that we are seeing built along the Buffalo River. Everybody wants to see more, higher paying jobs, but there is a cost, as the waterfront is finally beginning to turn a new leaf. Most importantly, the entire Buffalo community should be privy to the plans before a decision is made.
Photos: From the Old First Ward presentation