Neighbors Meet to Learn More About $35 Million Project

Buffalo, NY - Monday night, neighbors gathered in the Old First Ward to find out more about a proposed entertainment complex called Buffalo RiverWorks.

A couple of people expressed concerns about increased traffic, but many others seemed curious to find out what the new development could mean for their neighborhood.

The proposal for Buffalo RiverWorks, a $35-million project on Ganson Street, includes ice rinks, restaurants and a concert stage, but results of a new traffic study due out at Tuesday morning's Planning Board meeting will play a role in its fate.

"Plenty of parking for your venues?" asked Daniel Granville, who represents Local 1286 members.

"90-percent of the time we have adequate parking," said developer Doug Swift, who says if there is not enough parking for large concerts, people will be able to use arena parking.

Granville represents union employees at General Mills and Archer Daniels Midland which are two companies which have voiced concerns about traffic.

"I think it would be almost impossible, especially if you get a snowfall and they close the Michigan Street Bridge and the Skyway. The only way to get over there is Michigan Avenue and it would be totally chaos," said Granville.

"I think when there's a lot of snow, we adjust in Buffalo to the traffic conditions," said Swift.

Granville says the workers he represents are against this project.

"We're not against development, but what we are against are losing five-hundred good paying jobs with great benefits," he says.

The developers have already reached out to the companies and remain confident everyone can work together to co-exist. There has been no indication from either company that they would shut down operations if RiverWorks is approved.

Also, the Director of the Old First Ward Community Association surveyed more than one-hundred neighbors, and tells us more than 88-percent of them approve of the project.

While she understands some of the concerns, she also sees the positive side.

"I think perhaps some enhanced water access, certainly some more jobs, up to 200 good jobs, and increased activity. Increased activity just helps all of the businesses and the whole neighborhood revitalize and that's our business," says Laura Kelly.

Tomorrow, Planning Board members will likely either ask for more time to do more traffic studies, or they could approve the project.

The ice rinks are still expected to open this winter.


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