FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2005
Schumer Invites Members Of New Waterfront Board To Meet With NYC Battery Park City Officials For Development Ideas
In Personal Letters to new Board Members, Schumer Pledges Support For Corporation, Describes Why Buffalo is Well Suited for Battery Park City Model
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today pledged to help the newly formed Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and invited all seven newly appointed members to meet with officials from the Battery Park City Authority to discuss their successful experience developing an urban waterfront. Schumer, who advocated for the local control board, originally proposed using the Battery Park City model to develop Buffalo’s Waterfront because its successful blend of commercial, residential and recreational uses have made it a waterfront destination where New Yorkers live, work and play.
“Establishing this Board is a great first step, but we can’t slow down now,” Schumer said. The local control board means we have an opportunity to develop the Waterfront in a way that promotes Buffalo’s economic growth and elevates our quality of life. Using the Battery Park City model allows us to take into account the residential, commercial, and recreational needs of Western New York.”
In personal letters to each of the members of the new Waterfront Board, Schumer congratulated them and offered his view on why the Battery Park City model would be well suited for Buffalo’s Waterfront development. Though Buffalo is not trying to become New York City, the key factor is that the Corporation, like the authority at Battery Park City, would develop a master plan for waterfront development, work with local, state and federal governments to develop the infrastructure, and then bid out the various parcels to multiple developers to implement the plan.
In addition, just as public access and expansive green space are hallmarks of Battery Park City's master plan, Schumer said Buffalo's waterfront should be accessible and attractive. There should be adequate green space and a configuration conducive to ample commercial space, because the number one priority should be jobs. The next GEICO that comes to Buffalo should have a number of options to choose from within the downtown area. Schumer believes we now have the opportunity to provide the kind of office space that is not currently available in the central business district. Rather than compete with the current city core, the outer harbor could expand what we currently think of as downtown Buffalo.
In addition to hosting a tour of Battery Park City with Buffalo officials in 2004, Schumer has been lobbying since 2002 for a waterfront corporation to tackle the redevelopment of Buffalo's Inner and Outer Harbors. Schumer has helped secure millions of federal dollars for the Inner and Outer Harbors and will continue to fight for federal funding.
In his letters, Schumer said, “Last year, I hosted a tour of Battery Park City with Mayor Massiello and other officials and I know that everyone came away from that experience with excellent ideas and a new appreciation for what is possible along the Buffalo waterfront. Now that the board has been chosen and you have assumed the role of a decision-maker in this important task, I would like to set up a meeting between the Development Corporation Board and officials from the Battery Park City Authority so that you can discuss first hand their lessons and successes in urban waterfront development.”