Draft Resolution for “Parkland” Designation

Proposed Common Council Resolution for “Parkland Designation” on Outer Harbor

March 30, 2017 DRAFT

Our Outer Harbor Coalition (*see member organizations below) and its partners request a resolution be submitted to the Buffalo Common Council pertaining to the following:

 Subject: Designate as “parkland” the public land currently owned by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor between Times Beach Nature Preserve and the Terminals, (bordered on the west by the Lake Erie shoreline, and on the east by Fuhrmann Boulevard), including the former NYPA property located east of Times Beach Nature Preserve in order to protect it for public use for future generations.

WHEREAS broad support for a regional recreational and environmental park on the Outer Harbor on this public land has been demonstrated by heavy and rapidly growing use by the general population, government funded studies, public petitions, and public meetings, and;

WHEREAS, investment in parks and recreation plays a vital role in a community’s ability to attract businesses, create jobs, develop a healthy workforce, increase surrounding property values, build social capital, and spur new development while maintaining scenic views of the waterfront, and;

WHEREAS, this public land may become the first regional park in the country dedicated to Frederick Law Olmsted for his 200th birthday in 2022, fulfilling his original vision of a waterfront park for the City of Buffalo and utilizing his design and conservation principles, connecting the Outer Harbor directly to South Park and the Olmsted Parks and Parkway System, and;

WHEREAS, this regional park will provide a healthy asset as a passive and active year-round regional park for Downtown and nearby neighborhoods lacking in recreational amenities, and;

WHEREAS, this public land will showcase Buffalo’s legacy of energy innovation by using 100% renewable energy, and will demonstrate environmentally sustainable site practices throughout, and;

WHEREAS, this public land is a strategic ecological buffer for the City of Buffalo, protecting our infrastructure from the harshness of weather storms off Lake Erie and the effects of climate change, and absorbing stormwater to reduce the impact of sewage overflow into our waterways, and;

WHEREAS, this public land has significant environmental and cultural value, as the western gateway to the globally significant Niagara River Cooridor Important Bird Area and as a historical port and manufacturing hub for the City of Buffalo, and;

WHEREAS, 30% of the residents in Buffalo have no automobile or access to Lake Erie, and this regional park will fulfill a long overdue social justice and environmental movement to connect city residents to their waterfront, improving overall quality of life, and;

WHEREAS, this Common Council encourages smart growth as advocated by Governor Andrew Cuomo, in parts of our city and in our downtown that already have infrastructureenabling existing neighborhoods to prosper, and;

WHEREAS, this public land will be the southern anchor of the Niagara River Greenway connecting us with over 50 miles of greenways, bikeways and waterways from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and;

WHEREAS, this regional park will capitalize on our international connection to Canada and encourage the 13 million annual visitors to Niagara Falls to travel the Niagara River, one of the world’s greatest waterfronts, to downtown Buffalo, Lake Erie and the Outer Harbor, and;

WHEREAS, tourism is Western New York’s second largest growing economic sector with visitors contributing $2.6 billion in the regional economy,13.5 million whom visited our regional parks.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Common Council of the City of Buffalo does hereby:

  1. Support “parkland” designation for the public land on the Outer Harbor between Times Beach Nature Preserve and the Terminals, including the former NYPA property east of Times Beach Nature Preserve to protect it for future generations
  2. Request that the New York State government authorize this decision through executive order or an official act of the state legislature
  3. Request that the State of New York implement a more inclusive, transparent public process for creating this regional park

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City Clerk forward a copy of this resolution to the Erie County Legislature and County Executive Mark Poloncarz, New York State Senators Chris Jacobs and Tim Kennedy, Assembly members Sean Ryan, Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Michael Kearns and Robin Schimminger, the Board of Empire State Development and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Congressman Brian Higgins and United States Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

*WNY Environmental Alliance, Friends of Times Beach, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, League of Women Voters, 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor, Partnership for the Public Good, Sierra Club Niagara Group, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, Pollinator Conservation Association, Adirondack Mountain Club, Campaign for Buffalo, Buffalo Young Preservationists and Citizens for Regional Transit

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