NFTA Transporter

Friday, September 6, 2013

NFTA Outer Harbor properties to the state

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented his visionary plan for a dramatic transformation of Buffalo’s waterfront at a press event Thursday, Sept. 5. The first component of the plan calls for the transfer of up to roughly 340 acres of land on the Outer Harbor from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority to the state.

Under the proposal, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation will acquire the land from the NFTA to plan for future development and use, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will operate half of the property, encompassing the NFTA Boat Harbor and Gallagher Beach, as a new state park. As part of the agreement the NFTA will continue to operate the boat harbor through the 2014 season.

The ECHDC will launch a public process to determine the future of an additional 130 acres of open land on the outer harbor and find ways on how the open space should best be utilized going forward.

NFTA Chairman Howard A. Zemsky said, “This allows us to get out of the property business, so to speak, and assures continual public access by virtue of being a state park. It’s really the best of all possible circumstances and allows the NFTA to focus on its core mission of public transportation.”

The OPRHP will work to create a swimming beach at Gallagher Beach, which will be the first public swimming beach in the City of Buffalo. New York State Department of Transportation recently completed improvements at Gallagher Beach, including a new pavilion, boardwalk, picnic tables and chess game tables, to turn it into a multi-functional gathering place.

The NFTA will retain the property between the two parcels, containing Port Terminals A and B, due to discussions regarding the sale or lease of the property. The Niagara Frontier Port Authority took control of the Buffalo harbor in 1957 and became part of the larger, multimodal NFTA when it was formed in 1967.