In Black Rock, A Vision For Development

A Vision To Transform Black Rock Harbor

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Old industrial buildings, overgrown shrubs and a collection of faded signs are about all that's left on Tonawanda Street near Black Rock Harbor, just north of the intersection of Interstate 190 and the Scajaquada.

The former Atlas Steel freight house, for example, sits rusty and vacant. It's currently for sale. From Tonawanda Street toward the campus of Buffalo State College, roughly 100 acres of land remains either empty or underutilized near the Western Scajaquada Corridor.

Scott Glasgow lives nearby in Black Rock's Market Square Historic District, the oldest neighborhood in Buffalo. His family has lived in Black Rock for seven generations.

He's adamant: it's time to develop that land near Black Rock Harbor.

"It's an area that's long been neglected, kind of an industrial zone," Glasgow said. "Any kind of progress there would be positive."

The Western Scajaquada Coalition seems to agree. The group has created a preliminary, $150 million proposal to transform the Black Rock Harbor area into a mix of residential, recreational and manufacturing structures along these 100 acres. The plan will likely include green space and additional parks, according to Louis Haremski, a member of the Western Scajaquada Coalition.

"This would give the city of Buffalo a chance to actually create new waterfront property," Haremski said. "We look at this as a very progressive way to bring back a neighborhood which has really been in decay for many years now."

The Western Scajaquada Coalition will hold a public meeting at the Buffalo History Museum at 6 p.m. Tuesday to unveil its comprehensive urban plan, which was developed with the help of the Baird Foundation's funding.

The plan could include one major wrinkle: It may require the elimination of part of the Scajaquada, where it connects with I-190. However, any talk of disconnecting the two roadways would be premature, Haremski said, since the first phase of the proposal mostly involves only the urban planning aspects.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan met last week with the coalition, and members of Congressman Brian Higgins' staff have also had discussions with the group. Elected officials would need to embrace the plan before it could move any further, according to Haremski.

"If this plan eventually materializes, it's going to provide jobs for the local community, and it's also going to provide linkage between this part of Black Rock and the bulk of the population closer to Amherst Street," Haremski said.

That could include the Market Square Historic District, where Glasgow lives.

"We'd like to see more homeowners, less absentee landlords," Glasgow said, "and just continue with investment that's going on." 


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