Fighting for Western New York and Getting Results
As a Member of Congress, Brian has an incredible opportunity to help transform Western New York's waterfront areas - from Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood, on north to the Tonawandas and Niagara Falls, and all points in between.
This isn't just about creating more park space and waterfront beaches. Those are important goals - and they improve our quality of life. But Brian has long believed that our waterfront can be an engine for economic revitalization. Like few other places in America, our part of Western New York is blessed with a treasured natural resource. Cities like Baltimore and Chicago provide an example of what we can do if we make the right kind of commitment. We can redevelop our waterfront, give our families parks and beaches, and bring in new businesses and jobs along with it. That is Brian's goal and vision.
Brian's efforts in recent years have helped produce unprecedented new construction along Buffalo's Outer Harbor; transforming a once economically depressed area into a pathway towards economic development. The recently completed Outer Harbor Parkway opens up access to the area and encourages private sector investment in residential, entertainment and commercial mixed-use initiatives along the waterfront.
With the completion of the parkway and improved infrastructure along the Outer Harbor, new development is underway at the Union Ship Canal Promenade, creating a multi-use fishing and recreation area. Gallagher Beach will see further enhancement this year, with the construction of a new pavilion as well as seating areas, lighting and other landscape and streetscape features.
One of the latest development projects adjacent to the Outer Harbor Parkway, is the Buffalo River Fest Park; also known as Peg’s Park, in tribute to Peg Overdorf, the Executive Director of the Valley Community Association who made this project possible. Situated in the City of Buffalo’s Old First Ward, in a once vacant lot on Ohio Street, the Buffalo River Fest Park demonstrates a collaboration between local, state, federal and private partners. The park features a bandshell, boardwalk, reconstruction of the wharf, which was formerly historic Front Street, winding walkways, pergola and beautiful landscaping that frame panoramic views of Buffalo’s historic waterfront.
Along the Inner Harbor, our past collides with our future at the newly transformed Erie Canal terminus site. Historic markers tell the story of settlers who first came to Buffalo to find work and raise their families. At the same time, demolition in this area makes way for new development that will provide jobs for Buffalo's next generation.
At the Erie Basin Marina, winter gates were removed providing residents with year-round waterfront access and new opportunities for ice hockey, ice fishing and other winter activities. For summer visitors, the boardwalk extension at the Commercial Slip is complete and open to the public. Exciting new improvements to this area include the Queen City Ferry service, the opening of a food shack, “Clinton’s Dish,” a launch area for kayaks, and a sandy area along the boardwalk complete with colorful “sunset” or Adirondack chairs, popular amongst children and families. All you have to do is walk along the boardwalk on a Saturday afternoon to see the numerous residents who have begun populating this area, whether participating in one of the hundreds of planned events or simply enjoying our regions biggest asset—the waterfront.
This is not to say that work along the waterfront is complete; Brian will continue this effort with many projects still underway, including the Buffalo Harbor Bridge, rehabilitation of the Historic Lighthouse, the Donovan Building, the Buffalo River Restoration project and numerous others. In short, reforming waterfront areas is an expensive proposition; you need the federal government behind such project. As a member of the House of Representatives, Brian has and will continue to help give our region a voice for economic development in Erie and Chautauqua Counties.
This mission takes time, dedication and commitment; not only to secure funding for projects, but the willingness to manage the projects to completion. Together we will make it happen.