Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s new park and paddlesport launch at 1660 Niagara Street is coming along nicely. Waterkeeper was aided by the Buffalo Niagara Land Trust in getting the project off the ground, and now close to completion. Currently, the park is in “growth mode” literally, as the native trees and the foliage takes hold along the Scajaquada Creek, Black Rock Canal, and the Niagara River. Once complete, there will be a “living shoreline” that will not only benefit people, but wildlife as well.
This was once the site of a dilapidated building, as well as brownfield land.
Now it will become an extremely valuable waterfront asset, as it will allow direct access to the water, in ways that were previously impossible.
Much of the waterfront property along the Niagara River has unfortunately been destroyed over the years. What was once the Erie Canal is now an expressway. There are some parks along the water, a number which have been updated over the years, but there is a long way to go if we ever want to reconnect with these valuable and mostly out-of-reach rivers and creeks.
Thankfully, Waterkeeper understands the importance of waterfront health and accessibility standards. Once open, this aquatic park will become part of a “Buffalo Blueway” initiative that seeks to establish and connect waterfront access points (paddle access points and launches).
At a 2015 press conference, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Jill Jedlicka stated, “For generations, Scajaquada Creek has been an abandoned waterway that still suffers from pollution and limited public access. There are significant restoration planning efforts underway, thanks to recent years of strong collaboration between the government and non-profit sectors. While this work is happening, we can take additional steps to improve the creek corridor. Just like we have seen in the Buffalo River and the Outer Harbor, by prioritizing public access and water quality, the increased community use of our waterways can play an important role in stimulating additional investment and recovery.”
This particular initiative is purported to cost upwards of $850,000, and is made possible thanks to grant funding from New York State Canal Corporation, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and the New York Power Authority (through the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee).