Based on “the availability of existing track infrastructure, site control/ownership, connectivity to existing multi-modal transportation options, proximity to activity centers, and readiness for development”, the downtown station has been designated as the preferred choice for the new train station. While the stakeholders meeting is still underway, the decision has been made after a consensus vote took place moments ago.
Dean Bob Shibley broke the news by stating “The majority is leaning to Downtown – the downtown site (the motion offered) is the preferred location.”
Senator Tim Kennedy spoke against the downtown site, saying that Central Terminal would have been the best bet in the long term. He concluded that the best thing to come of this process, was to bring the Central Terminal back into the public spotlight. He called the decision a win-win, once the terminal is also developed.
Then, Congressman Higgins stated that 87.9 percent of the public favors the Central Terminal. He felt that the community was not represented in the decision. He added that the recent renaissance in Buffalo is not a true renaissance unless we pay attention to our forgotten neighborhoods. He argued that the decision called for more vision, more imagination and more guts.
Empire State Development (ESD) President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said that this is a transportation decision, and therefore downtown is the clear winner. He also said that there will eventually be an adaptive reuse opportunity for the Central Terminal. He said this as a person who has invested a great deal of his own funds into the East Side (Larkinville). He added that the day and time will come for the Central Terminal, and we should all be happy with this decision.
Mayor Byron Brown said that this was an open and transparent public process, and that he is convinced that downtown is the right location for the train station, but that we should invest and preserve the Central Terminal at the same time. “There are no forgotten neighborhoods.” He referenced the investment in housing, the demolitions, and the Broadway Market as proof positive investments that have been made on the East Side.
“Buffalo has missed a golden opportunity to begin the process to redevelop the Central Terminal. The $25 million infusion of state funding would have been a great start to the adaptive reuse of one of Buffalo’s great architectural icons. I am thankful that the site directly within Canalside at the North Aud Block was not chosen. While I do not think the downtown site is the best choice, I am willing to do what I can to make it work. This should not be the end of the line for the Central Terminal. We must begin an effort to redevelop the Central Terminal and bring it back to life. A new Central Terminal can help to bring new investment to Buffalo’s East Side, and ensure that the New Buffalo reaches all of our neighborhoods.”
10 votes for the downtown location. 4 votes for the Central Terminal. 1 abstention. And there you have it.