The Buffalo Blueway just got a whole lot better, with opening of a newly renovated Buffalo Blueway site at Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park. This relatively obscure waterfront park – Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park – locate along the Buffalo River, has always been in need of attention and improvements. The last time that I posted on this park, back in 2017, there was some progress being made on the environmental front, but there were still some issues – primarily cleanup and lack of amenities – that needed to be addressed.
The latest effort to reach the park’s full potential is by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (BNW), Empire State Development (ESD), and Erie County. All of the improvements are thanks to a concerted effort to elevate the performance of the park. In return, it has been awarded with a distinguished designation as a Buffalo Blueway destination.
By being added to the Buffalo Blueway, the park will see an increase in use, not only by people in the neighborhood, but scores of others who are enjoying the renewed waterfront. The funding for the project comes from ESD, while the visioning and implementation is that of BNW.
The construction project, which was completed in just three months by BNW and its contractor, Scott Lawn Yard, includes the following enhancements:
- Paddle Launch: An enhanced paddle sport launch area with a terraced concrete access point
- Parking: Upgraded parking lot to allow for better traffic flow and ease of parking
- Walkways: New ADA-accessible concrete walkways along the Buffalo River to replace the aging and dangerous asphalt paths
- Overlook: A redesigned overlook area with ample seating for sweeping views of the Buffalo River and a custom designed railing
- Benches: New benches throughout the site to allow for users of all physical abilities for enjoyment of the site
Wendel provided designs for the improvements on this project.
“Thanks to our partners at Empire State Development and Erie County, our vision and implementation of the Buffalo Blueway continues to accelerate, with this Red Jacket Park access project complementing the successful opening of the Ohio Street site just ten months ago,” said Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Executive Director Jill Jedlicka. “For the first three decades of our existence, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper worked tirelessly to lead the cleanup partnership efforts that resulted in a once-dead Buffalo River becoming a thriving, vibrant ecosystem that is now being activated with recreational activity from locals and tourists alike. Supporting the growth of the region’s sustainable blue economy continues to be a goal of our ongoing environmental restoration work, and by offering universal access to our waterways through the Blueway system, these kinds of projects will continue to accelerate economic activity for our entire waterfront.”
The Buffalo Blueway connects natural spaces and fun-filled places to the winding and historic Buffalo River.
“This new Buffalo Blueway site at Red Jacket Park adds to the growth in public access to Western New York’s greatest asset – its waterfront,” said Empire State Development Commissioner and President & CEO Hope Knight. “I want to thank Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper for its continued leadership and partnership in getting these projects completed with state funding. This is just the latest example of how Buffalo Blueway projects are adding to the area’s quality of life, increasing recreation and tourism, and helping to boost the regional economy.”
“Increasing public access to our waterfront is always something to be pursued and is something that park goers and nature enthusiasts increasingly desire. We are blessed in Erie County with a rich and diverse natural environment that includes copious freshwater assets to be explored, navigated and appreciated,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “This investment at Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park adds another opportunity for individuals and families to launch kayaks, enjoy the redesigned overlook or just relax in a beautiful setting. I thank our partners for their work in completing this project so quickly, in order for it to be used this summer.”
For additional information on the Buffalo Blueway, visit www.buffaloblueway.com.
Get connected with Red Jacket Riverfront Natural Habitat Park @ 20 Smith Street