Published on July 11th, 2014 | by GrowWNYAdmin1
Pre-Planning for the Outer Harbor
BY: KRISTEN KASZUBOWSKI, GROWWNY TEAM
In April, it was announced that New York State was moving forward with plans to redevelop about 160 acres of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor. The past two days (July 9th and 10th) played host to the first round of public engagement planning workshops for this mixed-use development project. Held by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and its appointed planning agency, Perkins+Will, the meeting incorporated many outlets for citizens to contribute feedback to the pre-planning process.
I was able to attend the first workshop on July 9th at WNED Studios, which boasted a great turn out of nearly 300 participants. The crowds huddled around many different kiosks that described the guiding principles and existing site conditions, case studies of other waterfront uses in other cities, and some potential uses for the Outer Harbor. There were tables of Post-it notes and pens so community members could leave comments on any of the displays around the room. For the section of potential uses, citizens were also given green dots to “vote” on their preferred set of uses and/or vision for the Outer Harbor.
Another large component of the feedback process was the implementation of a ”Planning Game.” This took a map of the Outer Harbor that spanned an entire table, and provided “game tokens” that represented different development ideas, such as a stadium with parking, nature trails, or a ferris wheel. Participants had to pick and choose which tokens they would use and where within the limitations of the available space for development. Each game board was captured for further analysis by the Perkins+Will team.
Lastly, citizens could step into a spot light and record their comments in front of a camera. Many people were in line to describe their vision for the Outer Harbor, and explain why this place is so special to our community.
If you weren’t able to attend on Wednesday or Thursday, there is still one more opportunity! Attend the last pre-planning meeting tomorrow, Saturday, July 12 at 9 am at the Old First Ward Community Center. You can also email any questions or ideas to the planners using this email address: OuterHarborInfo@esd.ny.gov
This is only the first round of public meetings on the Outer Harbor. There will be follow-up meetings in August and September to give the community an update on the planning process, with more opportunities to submit your feedback.