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ECHDC Board Approves Outer Harbor Projects Moving Forward

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) has announced that four distinct initiatives will be moving forward at the Outer Harbor, including additional planning efforts for the rest of the underutilized 140+ acres of land.

  • The ECHDC Board approved a total contract amount not to exceed $2.11 million to Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects LLP, a New York State-certified Women Owned Business (WBE), for architectural and engineering design services for ‘Buffalo Outer Harbor Access & Activation Civic Improvements Project, Phase 2.’
  • The Board approved a consultant agreement to Olin Partnership, Ltd dba OLIN, a full-service New York State-certified Women Owned Business (WBE)firm with more than 40 years of experience in successful placemaking, for architectural and engineering services at the First Buffalo River Marina.

The $550,000 OLIN contract will pay for planning of the approximately 15 acres of fenced land at the northern end of the Outer Harbor, which includes:

  • A 115-slip boat marina with a Marina Office Building and Marina Maintenance Building
  • Several boat launch locations
  • Outdoor storage for approximately 300 boats
  • Approximately 150 spaces for trailer parking and/or public patrons

While not in use by the marina, the site also contains the Connecting Terminal Grain Elevator. The site is immediately adjacent to the Queen City Bike Ferry. ECHDC is considering the following water-dependent programmatic elements to be incorporated in the marina plans:

  • Overall entrance, marina circulation and parking for vehicles based on type of general public/marina user
  • Relocated boat launch and related circulation
  • Relocated Queen City Bike Ferry landing and related circulation
  • Site access and control for various types of users
  • Pedestrian and bicycle circulation
  • Landscape and public site amenity plan
  • Public space programming, including concessions and rental opportunities

The Board also approved contracts for capital planning at the First Buffalo River Marina and at Terminal B, which will combine to infuse dramatic new energy at the Outer Harbor, by creating a series of interconnected waterfront destinations. The destinations include Wilkson Pointe, Tifft Nature Preserve, Times Beach Nature Preserve, and connectivity with Canalside via the Queen City Bike Ferry and the Ohio Street connector. 

To start, the Board awarded a construction contract for a Buffalo Billion-funded project that will see three of the projects kicking off in May. The first is the urban bike park, which was announced previously. Then there will be an “events lawn” situated alongside the bike park. The third initiative is a series of multi-use trails and habitat enhancements at the southern end of the Outer Harbor (see below).

Click to enlarge

“These projects, spearheaded by Governor Cuomo when he announced the Outer Harbor land transfer in 2013, represent a transformative change for the Outer Harbor, making it more accessible and active—a logical next step for investment following our previous projects at Canalside and on the river,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “The intent of these efforts is to expand the amount and types of activities and experiences available to Outer Harbor visitors. Our Governor asked ECHDC to deliver a waterfront the people of Western New York can be proud of – today that vision is moving forward.”

The property being used by the public will also include environmental mitigation features mainly consisting of a soil cap and/or fencing.  The project is slated to begin in May 2018 and be completed by May 2019.

The Board also approved a nearly $4 million construction contract to Pinto Construction Services for the “Buffalo Outer Harbor Access & Activation Civic Improvements Project, Phase 1B,” (see above), which includes a designated area for food trucks, public seating, a kiosk, overlooks, and a great lawn.

The project includes:

  • A completed multi-use Greenbelt Trail, including pedestrian and bicycle amenities
  • Two overlook locations
  • An urban bike park with skills features and off-road trails
  • An events lawn for passive and active recreational purposes
  • Three habitat restoration areas

According to the ECHDC, while the improvements on 140 acres of land between the Bell Slip and Slip 2 will be determined with stakeholder and agency involvement, they will likely include:

  • Environmental remediation
  • Active and passive open space
  • Habitat restoration
  • A restored and accessible Michigan Pier
  • Food and beverage opportunities
  • Signage and wayfinding
  • Coordination with long-term, in-water improvements by the USACOE/NYSDEC
Lastly, the ECHDC Board awarded a contract to Bergmann Associates, Architects, Engineers, Landscape Architects & Surveyors, DPC LLP for architectural and design services for Terminal B. The $375,000 contact will provide concepts for various options, ranging from demolition to reuse.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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