Higgins joins opponents of outer harbor housing plan

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new vision for Buffalo’s outer harbor would have three new neighborhoods created, some on green space near the Times Beach Nature Preserve. That doesn’t sit well with Congressman Brian Higgins.

“Buffalo doesn’t need another city at the Outer Harbor,” he said.

The units would be “mid-rise” and within the range of people of all income levels, according to Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Chairman Robert Gioia. “When you activate a year-round property, especially with the climate you have here, you need people to live here year-round,” he said.

Opponents say neighborhoods would obstruct the natural view of one of Buffalo’s greatest resources.

“Nobody wants housing near Times Beach,” said Assemblyman Sean Ryan. “Nobody wants housing near Wilkeson Pointe, and nobody wants housing near our historic lighthouse.”

One alternative could be the development historic Terminals A and B on the south end of the outer harbor. They originally were part of a Ford assembly plant in another era. This plan has the backing of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper organization. Proponents say the terminals could be developed for housing and all sorts of attractions.

Nothing is set in stone yet. Outer Harbor planners could go back to the drawing board. However, Chairman Gioia says plans delayed in Buffalo tend to get washed away. He said he was caught by surprise when Congressman Higgins came out against the housing plan for the north end of the harbor.

“People want to draw lines in the sand,” he said, “that’s certainly their issue, but then we’re just going to end up with a lot of lines in the sand.”

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