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Tell Us Your Ideas For The Waterfront | News

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Tell Us Your Ideas For The Waterfront
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BUFFALO, N.Y. - Two of the region's most influential elected leaders believe Buffalo's waterfront does not need a major retail anchor store.

Both U.S. Representative Brian Higgins (D-South Buffalo) and County Executive Chris Collins (R) suggest Western New Yorkers should consider different types of attractions.

Higgins, who insists the water is an anchor, wants no anchor store.

"Niagara on the Lake is a great destination," Higgins said. "There' s no anchor there. It's an idyllic place that has cool street scapes, small shops, a lot of beautiful homes along the water."

Collins differed slightly in his view of an anchor destination.

"I do think we need an anchor, but not necessarily a retail anchor," Collins said. "An anchor could be a museum. It could be an aquarium... but it has to be focused as a draw, bringing people into Buffalo and Erie County that aren't residents here."

The public has been exploding with ideas.

Less than 24 hours after asking the public for suggestions, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown was inundated with ideas to replace Bass Pro as the anchor of the city's waterfront.

REPORTER: Generally speaking, what have people told you that they want down there?

MAYOR: You know, it's been tremendous. The comments have been off the charts. We've received over 475 comments already. Bruce from Lockport would like to see a retractable dome. Steve from West Seneca, an ampitheater.

The Mayor said the two most popular suggestions, so far, are a splash park and a aquarium.

2 On Your Side also wants to hear your suggestions for the waterfront. To submit your ideas, send WGRZ an email.

So far, some of the ideas have ranged from Mississippi River paddle boats to amusement parks with miniature golf. The most popular suggestion we have received it a Wegmans on the waterfront.

REPORTER: Could a supermarket work down there, or not really?

MAYOR: I don't think a supermarket would necessarily be what you would put on a waterfront as a destination... But I'm not ruling anything out. We want people to comment. We want people to give us their input.

To submit your ideas to the city, call 311 to give your ideas over the phone. You can also give your ideas online at a new website created by the city.

In a statement the chairman of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation said he's looking forward to getting the public's advice. The mayor says residents will have about a month to offer ideas. They will then be handed over to the harbor development team at its September meeting.

A day earlier, when the Mayor began soliciting ideas, we asked him whether it was a bit late in the process to start hearing from the public.

"What took so long is there have been some considerable debate and public input through the canal side master planning process," said Mayor Byron Brown, D-Buffalo.

"But if there is a plan, why do you want to hear from the public?" 2 On Your Side's Josh Boose asked him.

"The plan we have is a framework," the mayor replied.

And the public, Brown says, can help fill-in the details of the current master plan, not start back at square one. And Since Bass Pro pulled out, he says the public wants a say now.

"Mayor, you said the public is sick of debate, they want to see results, won't this just add to the debate and what about the people that say we've heard ideas of amusement park and museums, we want to see something happen nine years after Bass Pro was promised?" Boose asked.

"And right now, that's a good point, right now there are shovels in the ground, there is work that is being done," said Brown."

"But we don't know what's going to be there, right?" Boose followed-up.

"I think we know there's going to be local shops. We know that Benderson [Development] has had good conversations with national retailers."

But as far as we know those have only been conversations. The public can add comments of their own now, as they continue to wait for the shops, restaurants and walkways that have been talked about for years but not yet realized.

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