Buffalo's Outer Harbor
Completed projects at Buffalo Harbor State Park include:
- Public boat launch
- Expansion of utilities
- Redesigned vehicular roadway and parking to improve traffic flow for park users and boaters
- Nautically-themed destination playground
- Two open-air picnic pavilions
- New park furnishings
- Improved lighting and walkways
- Redesign of the break wall at the marina, which features a pedestrian walkway overlook, fishing access and seating.
These improvements, which helped to attract more than 134,000 visitors to the park during its first year of operation in 2015, continue to attract visitors. In 2018, the park attracted more than 254,000. visitors.
The new Lakeside Complex on Buffalo's Outer Harbor opened in May 2019. The 20-acre site includes a new bike park, event lawn, trail for walking or cycling and beautiful landscaping to attract more visitors and residents to the city's waterfront.
The new Lakeside Complex will be open from dawn to dusk and includes:
- Bike Park: A combination of trails, a skills loop and a pump track. The bike park provides three introductory to intermediate-level tracks for mountain bike riders. The activity zone includes a pump track, skills loop and tot track with a viewing area and concourse. Nearly one mile of dirt trails are installed throughout the site and present varying degrees of skills and obstacles.
- Great Lawn: A 4-acre grassed oval provides space for both passive and active uses, including events of all sizes and a fantastic setting for sunset views.
- Independent Health Wellness Trail: Nearly one mile of additional multi-use trails connect the existing Outer Harbor trail system with Fuhrmann Boulevard to complete the shoreline loop. The nature trail will be surrounded by habitat enhancements and encompass the 4-acre Great Lawn.
- Habitat Restoration Areas: More than 10 acres of habitat enhancement and restoration areas feature the addition of hundreds of new trees and shrubs, as well as 1.5 acres of pollinator fields. These areas have seen the removal of invasive species and are now providing habitat for several species of nesting and migratory birds.
- Mountain Bike Rentals.
Photos of Lakeside Complex are available here.
The overall goals of this project include improving use and enjoyment of the Outer Harbor, enhancing bicycle and pedestrian access and minimizing adverse impacts on communities and the environment. ECHDC and their consultants held a final open house in May 2019 and presented the preferred Outer Harbor plan and implementation projects for passive recreation in three unique waterfront zones: First Buffalo River Marina; the 166 acres that include Wilkeson Pointe to Bell Slip; and Terminal B. This preferred plan was developed as a result of public input from two previous public meetings and online public surveys.
ECHDC’s Board of Directors received and filed the final Outer Harbor Preferred Plan at its June 10, 2019 meeting. The plan is available at here.
Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. As part of the 2013 transfer of almost 400 acres of land on the Outer Harbor from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to New York State, Buffalo Harbor State Park was designated as the 180th State Park in New York’s system and the first in the City of Buffalo. The Buffalo Billion committed $10 million for improvements to transform Buffalo Harbor State Park into a new visitor destination that continues the revitalization of the city's waterfront. The Buffalo Billion also committed $5 million to enhance access and facilitate greater public use and enjoyment of Buffalo's Outer Harbor via the Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project I, now opened and called Lakeside Complex. Buffalo Billion II commits $15 million to provide rapid, visible and usable improvements to the Buffalo Outer Harbor via the Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project II.