Outer Harbor Access & Activation

Trails for walking or cycling at the Lakeside Complex.

About Outer Harbor Access & Activation

After more than six years of planning, community engagement and coordination with the City of Buffalo and other entities, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) affirmed the General Project Plan (GPP) for the Buffalo Outer Harbor Civic and Land Use Improvement Project.  It outlines future improvements to the city’s Lake Erie waterfront that will build on earlier upgrades recently completed by ECHDC. Read the affirmed GPP here and see renderings here.

Phase I / Lakeside Complex

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 Lakeside Complex is 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 extension: Nearly one mile of additional multi-use trails connect the existing Outer Harbor trail system with Fuhrmann Boulevard to complete a 3-mile shoreline loop. The nature trail is 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 and community engagement programs.

For more information, visit here

Phase II / Outer Harbor Access & Activation

The project will be done in phases, with completion over a 20-year span, or as funding becomes available. Phase II.1, estimated to cost $44 million, will be funded by the Buffalo Billion, ECHDC—via the New York Power Authority (NYPA) through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project—and federal sources. This initial phase, which will begin by the end of 2021, includes the creation of new and enhanced open spaces, increased land and water access, the addition of comfort stations, and passive and active recreational amenities. Improvements on over 50 acres of upland and watered property, including the creation of an aquatic habitat in Slip No. 3 with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, rehabilitation of Terminal B, and upgrades at Bell Slip and Wilkeson Pointe would occur during this first phase. The total GPP project budget is estimated to be $151 million. Later phases will be implemented when funding is secured.

Project Status
  • Phase I / Lakeside Complex is complete.
  • Phase II.1 is in pre-construction with construction expected to start in fall 2021.
Realizing a Natural Side of the City

The Outer Harbor Access & Activation project is an opportunity to further realize the full potential of Buffalo’s extensive waterfront. The development plan includes recreational facilities to improve what is currently vacant, substandard or underutilized property along a nearly one-and-a-half mile stretch of Lake Erie waterfront. The GPP also outlines site-wide elements, features and amenities, as well as specific improvements along certain areas within ECHDC’s Outer Harbor property. It emphasizes the links between the inner and outer harbor, creates multi-modal access to the waterfront and reflects the community’s vision for this unique geographical asset. The Buffalo Billion committed $5 million to Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project I, now opened and called Lakeside Complex.  Buffalo Billion II commits $10 million to Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project II.