ECHDC Member - Ask Bass Pro For Another Shot?

September 13, 2010 Updated Sep 13, 2010 at 5:30 PM EDT

By Laura Gray

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September 13, 2010 Updated Sep 13, 2010 at 5:30 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Mayor Byron Brown presented over 1700 ideas from more than 850 people, and there were a lot of recurring themes. Most people are looking for an escape from the 9 to 5. Executive Director for the Office of Strategic Planning for the City of Buffalo, Brendan Mehaffy, says the survey responses favor a destination, not a place to live.
Most people surveyed want restaurants and national chain stores. Cabelas and Trader Joes topped the list. The public is also calling for one major attraction, according to the mayor. "The public really saying they'd like to see some kind of indoor water park as family attraction."
Some ideas, like a domed amphitheater aren't affordable, says chair Jordan Levy. "We cant build something and then saddle community with costs and debt for decades to come."
Another popular idea is an aquarium. Vice Chairperson Larry Quinn questioned how that could be done without competing against Niagara Falls. Quinn added that a month ago, ECHDC had an aquarium concept presented by a major retail store. He questioned Mayor Byron Brown on whether it would be worth asking Bass Pro for one last shot. "Lots of deals in the world go south and get revived. And people have chance to take a deep breath and figure out what they've lost." Quinn says. "do you think it makes any sense....to make one last attempt to go to Springfield (Bass Pro's headquarters are in Missouri) and say what you experienced was a unique political fire storm, and wasn't reflective of what the people want."
Mayor Byron Brown noted the public frustration and said Bass Pro would have to quickly agree to move to Buffalo. "Any..perception of foot dragging would not be met kindly by the public."
More public forums are coming up in the north towns, south towns, and other places in Western New York. ECHDC is opening bids for infrastructure construction. The building of roads, parks, and walkways is scheduled to start in the spring.