BUFFALO, NY - With the sale of Gallagher Beach and the Small Boat Harbor now in limbo, the NFTA Board is rethinking the future of waterfront development. Board Commissioner Howard Zemsky says The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation would be a good steward.
Last week the board's waterfront committee voted to take a time out from further negotiations with attorneys for Bear Development, which won the bid for the waterfront parcels. In recent weeks though, the developer began expressing concern with NFTA requirements that the winning bidder be responsible for environmental cleanup at the site. With the contract talks in limbo, the public discussion over who should control the waterfront became rekindled.
Now, with the time out declared, NFTA leadership will further investigate whether a public entity maintaining possession and leasing property to private development is the way to go.
Many people, including Zemsky, say that the ECHDC is the logical choice to be that public entity. Acting NFTA Chairman Henry Sloma maintains that the NFTA's main interest right now is refocusing on it's principal business of buses, trains and airports, and would like nothing more than to get out of the waterfront development business.
Sloma says though, they need to pass the baton in a responsible fashion.