Buffalo, NY (WKBW-TV) - Near the shadow of Buffalo's skyway on the outer harbor, a new park is about to open on land that was closed to the public for years. Decades ago the land was used for salt storage, and in more recent years it housed the ice boom when the boom was not in use keeping ice out of the Niagara River. The ice boom is now stored in another location, freeing up this prime piece of waterfront property, and New York State has turned it into a park.
The 14 acres feature a fishing pier, a boat dock, kids play area, bike paths, great views of Lake Erie, eye-catching wind sculptures, and literally chunks of Buffalo's history. "That is the remnants of the old cathedral on Delaware Avenue," says Pete Gallivan, Governor Cuomo's Western New York spokesperson. He's referring to the marble slabs and chunks placed around the park. "After it (the cathedral) was demolished it was down here as fill and we're incorporating it into the design," explains Gallivan.
There's also a beach in the plan, although it still needs to go through the required water testing. And, there is space purposely left undeveloped for now. "Six acres to the north end of the property is for future development so if a developer comes in and wants to build a restaurant or retail..." says Gallivan.
Right now the park is known by the not-so-catchy name "Parcel O.H.", but that's about to change. Some Buffalo middle-schoolers are in a contest to come up with a name that reflects the area's history. "I mean really this is the area that turned Buffalo into the Queen City of the Great lakes and we're trying to recapture that spirit," says Gallivan.
The official grand opening is Memorial Day.