ECHDC Delays Vote, Allows Public Comments

November 16, 2010 Updated Nov 16, 2010 at 6:24 PM EDT

By Laura Gray

November 16, 2010 Updated Nov 16, 2010 at 6:24 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) -- The vote on the Canal Side Modified General Project Plan is delayed. Assemblyman Sam Hoyt called for two more weeks of public comments on the MGPP. "Taking more time is the right thing to do. It's the responsible thing to do." ECHDC Chair Jordan Levy said at Tuesday's board meeting.
The MGPP emphasizes public infrastructure on the "Aud" block, including a series of public canals, walkways, and a parking garage. It is also a plan based on the fact that Bass Pro is no longer an anchor tenant. There have been critics of the MGPP who say the parking plan and canals are too expensive. They also say the plan needs re-visited now that Bass Pro is no longer included. Sam Magavern is the co-director of Partnership for Public Good. "We have grave concern with the modified plan barreling towards a destination called Bass Pro even if Bass Pro isn't there anymore."
Jordan Levy says the board keeps an open mind and every opinion during this two week process will count. "I'm not doing this to go through some charade. I am clearly interested in hearing what people have to say."
Also today, the ECHDC approving nearly 2 million dollars in NYPA funds to go towards the construction of a bridge to link the inner and outer harbor. The bridge would either be a drawbridge or a vertical lift bridge. It would accommodate bikes, pedestrians, and vehicles. The estimated total cost for the Buffalo harbor bridge would be more than 70 million.
There will be a series of open houses starting Wednesday to allow the public to offer suggestions for the waterfront. The 6 sessions will be simulcast on the web and transcribed.

From the ECHDC website:

In addition to the open house sessions, ECHDC will conduct a series of meetings with elected officials and community leaders which will include invited representatives from several leading Western New York organizations and advocacy groups. Stanton Eckstut, the master architect for Canal Side, and a nationally recognized innovator in public design, will also attend these sessions in order to fully inform them of the development that ECHDC is proposing on the Inner Harbor.

The schedule for the open house sessions will be as follows:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 18, 2010, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Friday, November 19, 2010, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Monday, November 22, 2010, 10:00-12:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 10:00-12:00 p.m.

The sessions will be held at the offices of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, 95 Perry St., Suite 500, Buffalo, NY 14203. There is free, two-hour parking on Mississippi St. on the side of the building.

Anyone who is interested in presenting their ideas to ECHDC, but is unable to attend one of the public sessions is encouraged to contact:

Erich Weyant, Assistant Director, Communications
Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.
95 Perry St., Suite 500, Buffalo, NY 14203
716.846.8262 fax