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ECHDC Approves Contract for Interpretive Structures Project

Along with Buffalo waterfront operations, maintenance and improvements

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) has met and approved a contract that includes the following measures:

  • contract for architectural and engineering design services for the Canalside Interpretive Structures project
  • ECHDC’s operating and capital budgets
  • An agreement with State Parks for operations and maintenance of property at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor

The ECHDC Board of Directors approved the measures, which are designed to help continue to enhance site productivity and operational strategies at the Inner and Outer Harbors.

ECHDC has approved a $1.3 million contract with Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects, LLC (HHL), for architectural and engineering design services, to be designated towards the creation of Canalside Interpretive Structures. While these are new buildings, they will be designed in accordance with former buildings located along the Commercial Slip.

The HHL team includes Perkins Eastman (formerly Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn).

“ECHDC continues to support projects that transform the once vacant and underutilized parcels in downtown Buffalo into a vibrant, mixed-use, year-round area that we now know as Canalside,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “The Canalside Interpretive Structures project will further advance our work by promoting and incorporating architectural elements that celebrate and interpret the historical significance of the Erie Canal and surrounding area.”

 The facilities being considered are:

  • An open air pavilion structure allowing for a range of three-season programming, activities and possibility semi-permanent exhibits and/or experiences.  It could evoke a 1870s building.
  • Recreation of the full-scale brick facade of the Union Steamboat building. 
  • Backdrop for a concert stage.
  • Another open air pavilion structure that will allow for additional three-season programming, activities and possibly semi-permanent exhibits and/or experiences.
  • Visitor center.  With the popularity of Canalside as a regional tourist destination, the demand for visitor services has been growing. 
  • Public restrooms. With the popularity of Canalside as a regional tourist destination, the demand for public restrooms has been growing. 
  • City of Buffalo Police sub-station. 

The next stage in the process is to come up with a construction bid package, which means that HHL will have to “complete detailed environmental studies, structural and building surveys, and architectural and engineering design services.”

The board also approved ECHDC’s fiscal year, including:

– The 2017/2018 operating budget of $1,215,409 (personnel and non-personnel services), along with the corporation’s capital expense authorization, which are individually approved by the Board of Directors throughout the year.

– The corporation’s fiscal year 2017/2018 capital expense authorization of $34,263,456, which includes:

  • The remaining costs on the design and construction of Explore & More Children’s Museum
  • Design and construction of the carousel project
  • Activation of the South and North Aud Block
  • Design and construction of the historic pavilion/stage/facade/restrooms
  • Canalside wayfinding signage
  • Canalside events, programming, site operations, maintenance and utility costs
  • Funding various projects at the Outer Harbor, including, but not limited to, operations, maintenance and utility costs; and access/activation design and construction.

The ECHDC board also authorized a memorandum of understanding with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for an agreement that is now in place, which extends the partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (through 2017) for lands at the Outer Harbor. Limited funding (under $126,000) will be directed to operations and maintenance of land associated with ECHDC-owned property on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. This scope of services is derived from a previous 2015 and 2016 arrangement that took care of trash removal, facilities maintenance, and general landscaping.

Photo: ECHDC

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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