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WNY Land Conservancy wants public input on Riverline Project designs

They're holding a public meeting tonight
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Posted at 4:35 AM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 06:52:42-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Right now, the 1.5 mile stretch of railroad corridor sits unused from the DL&W Terminal to Solar City in Downtown Buffalo sits unused, but soon it could be much more.

“A new nature trail and greenway. We’re trying to connect people to nature, right in the heart of the city,” said Jajean Rose-Burney, Deputy Executive Director of the WNY Land Conservancy.

The Conservancy has been working on this since 2017. This new trail would connect Canalside to the Buffalo River and hopefully bring communities together.

The WNY Land Conservancy is focusing on transforming this 1.5 mile stretch
The WNY Land Conservancy is focusing on transforming this 1.5 mile stretch

“Perry, the First ward, the Valley, communities that have been separated by this old transportation infrastructure, bringing them back together around nature and the waterfront," said Rose-Burney.

This is a state-funded project, the land is currently owned by the NFTA. They don't want to get rid of the landmarks that already sit along the line, instead add greenspace around them to enhance the area. The Conservancy envisions a place where families come to play.

“Biking, walking, winter activities like snowshoeing, like sledding, habitat restorations so people can experience nature,” said Rose-Burney.

The WNY Land Conservancy wants to make the Riverline a place to play for families
The WNY Land Conservancy wants to make the Riverline a place to play for families

Working with Brooklyn-based architect Barbara Wilks, the WNY Land Conservancy has been putting plans together and now, they’re bringing it to the public for feedback.

“This project has to be for the people that live here, it has to be of and planned by the people that live here, because it does, it goes through their backyard," said Rose-Burney.

The meeting is February 24 at 7pm. They'll discuss where the trail should be and how it should look, about different bridges and how they should be built and more.

"How do we want to bring out the positive qualities more than taking anything away and not impact the existing neighborhoods in a negative way," said Wilks.

This online conversation is one of the first steps of many.

“It’s difficult to say how long this will take, we don’t have a design yet, once we have a design we’ll have a sense of what we need to raise in terms of funding, what the phasing will look like," said Rose-Burney.

The goal is to have shovels in the ground here, creating that new green space within the next two years. Tonight's meeting will be live-streamed on YouTube at 7pm. To register, click here.