Later this evening (Wednesday, April 28 @ 7pm), the Western New York Land Conservancy, along with its design partners, W Architecture, Hood Design Studio, and Green Shield Ecology, will livestream the first draft of The Riverline concept. The Riverline is a former stretch of rail corridor – owned by the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) – that links The Cobblestone District (near the DL&W Terminal) with the Buffalo River (at Riverbend near Tesla).
Once complete, the greenway trail will be a one-and-a-half-mile nature corridor, featuring meadows, gardens, woodlands, and wetlands, with plenty of educational and recreational opportunities. Over the last four years, the design team has engaged the community to come up with the draft plans that are now midway through the design process. The livestream presentation will demonstrate the potential of the year round trail, while seeking additional community feedback.
“The Riverline is shaping up to be an important unifying element on Buffalo’s waterfront,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “Once completed, it will connect people and neighborhoods to nature and the waterfront. It will also connect the city’s rich industrial heritage to its green, environmentally-friendly future. We look forward to reviewing these new draft designs with an eye toward keeping the momentum moving forward.”
“In the early 20th century, Buffalo was one of the largest cities in the United States, with its growth fueled by industry and railroads. Our future landscape must embrace our city’s past and incorporate the important foundation it was built upon,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “Today, projects like The Riverline are revitalizing downtown and restoring public access to our waterways, in turn creating recreational spaces where people want to spend time together and explore the rich culture and greenspace that Buffalo offers.”
“Our community’s input is driving the big picture and the small details for The Riverline,” said Nancy Smith, Executive Director of the Land Conservancy. “We believe the design team has distilled the essence of four years of listening and is ready to offer a first look at a design that will weave together places, programs, and opportunities. We welcome community input and involvement now with one important question in mind: Does this design reflect your vision for The Riverline?”
Barbara Wilks, founder and principal of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, added, “Thanks to the public input we’ve already received, we’ve learned what excites Western New Yorkers about The Riverline. Community feedback is invaluable to our process. We are looking forward to sharing our draft designs with the community, getting additional input, and unveiling our final concept design this summer.”
A walk down The Riverline might someday look similar to these schematics (from the presentation – you can view the presentation on YouTube here):
For those who are unable to attend the live public event, feedback cards will be placed at select locations around the Old First Ward, Perry, and Valley neighborhoods in the days following the event; following the event, a version of the designs will be available at wnylc.org/firstlook, as will a link to the recorded presentation.
Funding for the Concept and Schematic Design phase comes in part through an Environmental Protection Fund grant (EPF #180842) administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Additional funding is provided by BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Blue Fund; The First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank; Moog Inc.; an Erie Canalway IMPACT grant awarded by the Erie Canalway Heritage Fund funded in part through the generous support of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor; Kathy Lasher and Scott Bieler; Peggy and Jay Elliott; Nancy and Tom Smith; and other individual community donors. The Land Conservancy continues to seek additional funding for The Riverline.