More boaters, more revenue at Small Boat Harbor

October 27, 2011 Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 6:18 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink, Buffalo Business First Reporter

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October 27, 2011 Updated Oct 27, 2011 at 6:18 AM EDT

The number of boaters using the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority's Small Boat Harbor grew this past summer - and that's good news for the cash-strapped authority.

With its season officially over, NFTA officials learned the 1,001-slip harbor produced a 12 percent gain in revenues from the 2010 summer, topped by seasonal slip sales and higher fuel sales.

The harbor is the largest in New York state, in terms of slips, and second largest among the Great Lakes.

The increase in revenues comes at a time when the NFTA is looking at various measures to cover a projected $15 million budget gap in its 2012-2013 fiscal year and also as the authority is seeking buyers for the property where the Small Boat Harbor sits.

"Let's see where this all goes," said David State, NFTA general counsel.

In hard numbers, the NFTA rented 900 of its slips for the full season compared with 866 last year, an increase of 3.9 percent.

Revenues from day launches increased to $78,270 this year from $75,190 in 2010, a rise of 4 percent.

Gas sales also rose 31.8 percent to $348,923 from $264,608 last summer in the boating season that just ended.

Weather permitting, the Small Boat Harbor opens in May and continues its season through mid-October.

In the meantime, the NFTA is accepting bids through Nov. 30 from people or companies interested in purchasing a 204-acre parcel along Fuhrmann Boulevard and fronting on the Lake Erie waterfront and an adjoining 60 acre parcel, also along Fuhrmann Boulevard. The larger parcel includes the Small Boat Harbor and the property where the popular Dug's Dive restaurant sits. The smaller parcel includes the 548,500-square-foot Terminal A building and 95,248-square-foot Terminal B building, plus some smaller buildings.

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