A recent trip to Tara Gift Shoppe in South Buffalo turned out to be more enlightening than expected. En route to the business, I crossed a pair of new bridges (via Bailey Avenue) that traverse a confluence of two bodies of water – Cazenovia Creek and the Buffalo River. As I looked to my right, I noticed a peninsula of land jutting out into the water. There were a couple of people fishing out there. The newly designed waterfront park looked like a great addition to the neighborhood.
Upon arrival to the gift shop, I made a point to mention the new bridges to owner Thomas Heneghan. I found it interesting that he too never noticed that there was a land outcropping/park setting below. He told me that the old bridges were higher, and obscured the view down below.
Later that day, I took a look at Google Maps, to see exactly what was going on with the project. It appeared that, indeed, there was a wooded park setting there all along, but few people ever realized it. If anyone would have known about the peninsula, it would be someone who owns a business just around the corner, right? The “new” park even appeared to have a name – Bailey Peninsula Natural Habitat Park. According to Erie County Parks and Recreation, this new park features:
- creation of a seiche wetland
- turtle habitat feature
- a kayak trailhead/launch
- upgraded walking trails and fishing access
So what we’re looking at here, are two brand new bridges that have been built next to the pre-existing bridges. The reconfiguration of the roadway, along with the landscaping of the peninsula, is most likely the reason that the Bailey Peninsula is so readily visible at this time. There is now a fresh vantage point onto the parcel of waterfront property, which will certainly be an eye-opener for a lot of South Buffalonians who probably never realized that Bailey Peninsula ever even existed. Once the new bridges are complete, the old bridges will be removed, and the land below will slo be restored into park land.