It was back in 2011 when the initial phase of opening the Buffalo lighthouse to the public was conducted. Essentially, that meant that people would be able to walk along the water’s edge, to access the historic landmark. The only problem is that, to this day, waterfront enthusiasts and history buffs are not very familiar with this area of the Outer Harbor, meaning that the circa 1833 lighthouse is still not seeing the foot traffic that it deserves.
Now Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) has announced plans for additional phases of improvements, which will create a Buffalo Lighthouse Park in and around the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo station.
“Despite the growing number of people exploring and enjoying the Outer Harbor, the area around the lighthouse remains an under-discovered resource,” said Congressman Higgins. “We are working to remove existing barriers and enhance the visitor experience, creating a lighthouse park at one of the most iconic waterfront sites in Buffalo.”
Despite the growing number of people exploring and enjoying the Outer Harbor, the area around the lighthouse remains an under-discovered resource.
Higgins has been working with the U.S. Coast Guard to develop plans that would enhance the lands leading to the Sector Buffalo site. Shared plans between the two will lead to the creation of a linear park adjacent to the base. Higgins noted that Phase One has already been completed, which saw the relocation of utilities at the Coast Guard sector site, which will led to the restructuring of part of the base. Currently, the base takes up so much of the land that there’s not much left for the public to enjoy the scenic views. Phase Two, also recently completed, oversaw the reconstruction of concrete docks and fueling area, to the tune of $11.8 million. The next phase will help to alleviate access issues at the park’s entranceway.
A number of barriers will soon be removed, creating a more inviting park experience. Finally, Higgins is looking to upcoming budget funding to deal with the reconfiguration of buildings on the site, which will allow for public enhancements to the park. At the same time, Higgins is talking to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the sea wall that bounds the lighthouse property, and whether there are any structural concerns that need to be addressed.
The issues that Higgins is dealing with right now have been problematic since the start. It’s a quirky parcel of land due to the configuration of the Coast Guard Base. There are plenty of opportunities to create a public park that would be more of a destination than what is there currently. It might behoove the planning parties to identify a landing spot for small crafts such as kayaks, which proliferate that section of the waterfront.