Previous month:
October 2010
Next month:
May 2011

Twelve Things the Canal District Could Have by Next Summer

At the November 16, 2010 meeting of the Erie Canal Harbor Devlopment Corporation (ECHDC) board, The Campaign for Greater Buffalo urged that both a 2010 Generic Environmental Impact Statement and a modification to it, necessary because of the demise of a proposal for a Bass Pro mega store, be scuttled.

Instead, the Campaign proposed that ESDC and ECHDC begin implementing the plan for the site completed in 2004, and to extend the streets and other public infrastructure into the site formerly occupied by Memorial Auditorium, so as to reconstruct as much of the pre-1927 conditions as possible. 1927 was the year the Hamburg Drain storm sewer was constructed on the bed of part of the old Erie Canal.

We further proposed that ECHDC undertake planning and programming immediately that would enhance the appeal of the overall waterfront and downtown area that the historic Canal District is part of, and must be reconnected to, if ECHDC is to fulfill its obligation to help improve the Buffalo area’s economy.

Toward that end, we propose that ECHDC do the following in 2011 and 2012:

• Erect an open-sided public pavilion along Central Wharf, from the east side of Lloyd St. to the imaginary line of an extension of the east side of West PerrySt. (or Dayton) to Central Wharf.

•Reconstruct a portion of the New England Block (which housed a basement saloon called Dug’s Dive), utilizing its remaining foundation, and make it available to the National Park Service for the western visitors’ center of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. This building should also house an interpretive memorial to the Underground Railroad in the basement and immigration to Buffalo on an upper floor (the building was used in its final years to house many Italian immigrants)

 Dug's Dive from NE

•Reconstruct the former office of the White Star Tug Line and a railroad switching tower between the reconstructed New England Block and the Water Street approach to the existing pedestrian bridge over the Commercial Slip. This would reproduce conditions as they existed in 1910.

 White Star Cafe & RR tower

•Reconstruct the streets appropriately, under consultation with independent historic preservation experts. This would include the laying of at least one set of rails in Prime Street.

•Illuminate infrastructure, specifically the Michigan and Ohio Street lift bridges and the Connecting Terminal grain elevator.

•Institute ferry service between Central Wharf and the head of Fuhrmann Boulevard, the historic foot of Erie Street, and between the Erie Basin observation tower, the Bird Island Pier, and the residential neighborhood directly across the mouth of Erie Basin.


•Begin an ongoing and systematic archeological excavation and interpretation of each historic building site in the designated Archeological District. Have multiple teams active at once, and conduct this a visitor attraction, as well as a scientific investigation. Visitors should be encouraged to view ongoing work and converse with workers on the sites. This work would obviate the need for private individuals who wish to own or lease property and erect buildings to do archeological surveys. The work should be seen as site preparation. In the meantime, invaluable knowledge and entertainment value can be gained. IMG_0012

•Erect a “tent city” containing temporary shops and services meant to operate during warm weather months, as well as to shelter the archeological work.

•Plan and construct a public restroom facility that is available at minimum from 7am to 11pm daily during the warm weather months and from 9am to 6pm the rest of the year.

•Plan and construct a pedestrian viaduct from Prime Street to the elevated DL&W exterior train platform, to functionally recall the rail viaduct demolished in 1979

•Plan and construct a pedestrian bridge and open-sided pavilion connecting the DL&W facility to the parking ramp on the west side of Illinois Street, facing the Cobblestone Historic District. Cobblestone Pavilion

Do you agree with any or all of the above? Then let people know. Address comments to:

Mr. Jordan Levy, Chair
  Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
  95 Perry Street
  Buffalo, New York 14203

Congressman Brian Higgins
726 Exchange Street
Suite 601
Buffalo, NY 14210
Phone: 716-852-3501
Fax: 716-852-3929
[email protected]

Mayor Byron Brown
201 City Hall, Buffalo, NY 14202
Mayor’s help line: 311
[email protected]

Common Council President: David Franczyk
1315 City Hall
Phone: 716-851-4138. Fax: (716)851-4869
E-mail: [email protected]

Chairman, Common Council Waterfront Committee: Mickey Kearns
1401 City Hall
Phone: 716-851-5169. Fax: (716)851-4294
E-mail: [email protected]

Board Members
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation
95 Perry Street
Buffalo, New York 14203

• Artvoice: [email protected]
Buffalo News (no more than 300 words): Everybody’s Column, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14203. Fax: 856-5150.
   E-mail: [email protected]
• Buffalo Rising: