BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Walking along the waterfront at Canalside, progress and improvements are obvious – there is blue fencing at the end of the boardwalk, mix-matched planks of wood, a construction trailer and equipment.
“We’re trying to turn it into a year round destination and we’re making progress,” said Sam Hoyt, the Regional President for Empire State Development.
From summertime concerts to outdoor skating rinks and fall festivals, Empire State Development and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. are collaborating to make the area a destination people want to come to all year long.
“Buffalo is continued to be recognized as a city with a magnificent waterfront that is family friendly, safe and clean and a place for people to come to not only enjoy the activities but to celebrate the history of Buffalo,” said Hoyt.
Visitors are coming by every day during every season now. The summer concert series boasted more than one million visitors and tens of thousands of people are expected to head to the waterfront in the coming weeks to check out the ice skating rink and the Grain Elevator Light Show premiere.
All of these visitors help with funding the improvements at Canalside. Partially, the money is coming for the initial government aid given to the developers to establish what we see now at Canalside.
“We hope the amount of government funding will reduce as the popularity increases and we get increased revenues from the private sector,” said Hoyt.
While it takes visitors to generate financially assistance, it takes a team to keep Canalside up and running. During the summer, upwards of 75 people are working daily to keep it up and running and during the winter, there are around 30. The constant work on the waterfront is keeping visitors excited for what is to come.
“They have done an amazing job down here,” said Susan Berner, a Wheatfield resident.
“It gives us something to do,” said Cynthia Morales. “Living on the west side of Buffalo, there was never a lot to do so this is a nice change.”