I’ve been patiently listening to and reading about the Inner Harbor, the Outer Harbor and the rest of the Buffalo Waterfront plans, and have sprinkled minor comments here and there in various blogs, not really convinced that this is an issue very many Western New Yorkers care about. Mainly because most Western New Yorkers hardly care about the Waterfront. Mainly because they mostly don’t live there.
All of the players in the Inner Harbor/Outer Harbor folderol, all the hype about Skyway Park, and the Route 5 boulevard, all the Bass Pro plans – they are meaningless when there are no people around. And as such I think the effort and emotion being put into this development, today, is completely misguided.
Things get built where people are. Build up the townhouses, the condos and the apartments downtown. Return the heart of the city to a population that can actually live there and the Waterfront development will follow. We’re trying to put the cart before the horse and except for the extremists, no one is really listening because no one is there to listen.
We don’t need 9-to-5 retail outlets and casinos to accomplish a Waterfront revitalization; we need supermarkets and drugstores.
Rather than wasting precious state funds and politicians’ time with pie-in-the-sky dreams, Buffalo would be wise get their help luring a Wegmans or a Tops to the downtown area. We would be wise to make it conducive for more developers to build new homes within a stone’s throw of the water. This is where plans should be drawn up and executed much faster than their current glacial pace.
It is odd to me that so much energy and time have been wasted on planning little more than tourist attractions in an area still nearly devoid of residents.
I am ever hopeful that the recent trend to convert old city office buildings into condominiums rapidly accelerates, because all the other things that make a city vibrant will rapidly follow.