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Thread: Article: The Regular Buffalo Person's Manifesto

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Article: The Regular Buffalo Person's Manifesto

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    That made me happy.

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Knowing a lot about the issues involved here, I have to mostly disagree with Al et al. This op-ed piece was in response to the end of the infamous "Bass Pro project" on the Buffalo waterfront, a project that was first proposed in 2002 IIRC. The problems with the Bass Pro project were NOT really based on Buffalo's typical obstructionist mentally (which Al got absolutely correct), but with an out-of-state corporation that tried to get local and state governments to essentially pay them to build a store in downtown Buffalo.

    Originally, Bass Pro was going to convert the old Buffalo Memorial Auditorium into a huge "destination" retail store plus a Great Lakes museum plus a hotel and restaurants. Over the years, the "destination" aspect disappeared, the museum died, the hotel and restaurants vanished, and the Aud had to be demo'd rather than reused, while the $$$ and concessions that Bass Pro demanded kept rising. In other words, BP was stringing the city, county, and state along for years. This is Bass Pro's modus operandus in many parts of the country where it takes advantage of communities desperate for "economic development". The Bass Pro store in suburban Pittsburgh, for example, which was proposed less than a year after the Buffalo store, also has yet to open, and maybe that project has been cancelled as well. While obstructionism is a serious issue in Buffalo, the "failure" of the BP project wasn't because of it.

    FTR, the Bass Pro Project was hardly the result of "professional planning". It resulted from a conversation between the head of Rich Products, a former Buffalo resident who retired to Florida, and his neighbor, the head of Bass Pro. There were no marketing surveys or feasibility studies by either Bass Pro or by the COB or Erie County to judge the merits of this undertaking, and no linking this to any master plan for the city or county: just pie-in-sky claims of creating economic prosperity based on primarily part-time retail jobs.

    Moreover, the city's request for citizen suggestions for what they'd like to do with the waterfront was a good one. Obviously, the writers of this op-ed piece haven't been down to the Inner Harbor on a nice week-end day/evening to see the thousands of Buffalonians (and others) who flock to be near the water. In fact, even in winter, Buffalonians flock to their waterfront whenever there's not a blizzard, as the many ice fishermen and the ice-sailors will attest. The general consensus from the citizen suggestions was for more walkable access along the water, various places to eat and sit, and some entertainment. While there were some suggestions for shopping in small and unique shops (which would have made it much more like Faneuil Hall on the Boston Harbor), there was absolutely no interest in having a Walden Galleria on the waterfront.

    For a fraction of what Bass Pro was demanding up front, the COB has created a small beach at the water's edge and has expanded the public spaces along the waterfront. There's a water taxi service, concerts, and an expanded snack outlet (the Hatch). There's going to be a restaurant next year at the Naval and Servicemen's Park. New York State also added a major walking/biking trail on the Outer Harbor from the Coast Guard Station (across the Inner Harbor from the Erie Basin Marina and the former Bass Pro site) south to Small Boat Harbor.

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