Buffalo's Waterfront Draws Big Crowds for 4th of July.

July 4, 2012 Updated Jul 5, 2012 at 5:08 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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July 4, 2012 Updated Jul 5, 2012 at 5:08 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) Not so long ago, Buffalo's waterfront was an empty, undeveloped collection of old industrial buildings and brownfields.

But things have made a dramatic turnaround.

Thanks to a 2005 settlement with the State Power Authority, millions of dollars have been invested in new roads, parks, and waterfront access.

The result is Buffalo's waterfront is now a big draw for visitors, especially curious residents who live in the suburbs.

During the 4th of July holiday, Buffalo's waterfront areas where full of people - many who admitted coming downtown for the first time to see the changes.

Thousand are expected to attend the concert and fireworks display at Canalside.

Congressman Brian Higgins led the fight to redevelop the waterfront, and he says there is more to come.

There are plans in the works to turn Ohio Street into a parkway, a swimming beach will be created at Gallagher Beach, and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is looking at ways to illuminate grain elevators and bridges along the Buffalo River.