Buffalo News: "Letter: Let’s turn Outer Harbor into an Olmstedian park"

Date: January 13, 2021

By Sam Magavern | January 13, 2021

The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation has released a draft plan for Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. In many ways, the plan treats the Outer Harbor like a park. It would be much stronger, though, if it included actually making it a park. An economic development corporation with time-limited funding is not the best steward for public land with great ecological importance and beauty. Moreover, Buffalo is severely “under-parked,” with only 7% of its land used for public parks (New York City, by contrast, is 20 percent park).

A state park would permanently protect the Outer Harbor and ensure long-term funding. It would promote economic development by drawing companies, new residents, and tourists to Buffalo, attracted by an Olmstedian park in one of the most remarkable locations on the Great Lakes.
The Corporation should amend its plan to include “Terminal A,” the old Ford factory, a historic landmark. Segmenting it off suggests that the Corporation may sell it to developers. With its rich history and ample parking, Terminal A can provide revenue for the park and a home for innovative recreational, cultural and educational programming.
The plan should not include a performance amphitheater. Western New York has many sites for concerts already; it does not make sense to devote precious waterfront land to a non-water-based use that will only compete with existing venues battered by the pandemic.

For more information, please see the Partnership for the Public Good report, Buffalo’s Outer Harbor: the Right Place for a World-Class Park, at ppgbuffalo.org.
Sam Magavern


Read this letter on the Buffalo News website here.