BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — Public parking will remain free at the Small Boat Harbor…for now.
The newly named Buffalo Harbor State Park officially opens Friday, and at least for this weekend, anyone can park for free, despite the new operators attempt to charge a $5 parking fee for non-slip holders.
When it became a State Park two years ago, State officials said that there were no plans to charge admission or parking fees. The new owner, Safe Harbor Development wanted to charge a $5 fee to any non slip holders to help pay the cost of staff whose job it would be to make sure there are enough spaces left for paying slip holders.
Safe Harbor’s Darby Campbell points out that there are 1,037 boat slips, and only 532 parking spaces.
“We’re gonna slow this process down, figure out the best way to do that. We’re not gonna charge for now and we hope possibly to find a way that it won’t be necessary.” said Campbell.
His plan, for now, is to designate the closest parking spaces for slip holders and leave some other spaces at the south end of the harbor for free public parking.
Congressman Brian Higgins says that’s the way it should stay. “People of Buffalo and Western New York have been denied access to the waterfront for decades and there should not be a fee imposed for access to any component of a new State Park.”