Handed a blank waterfront canvas by the NFTA, an out-of-town developer did the predictable: Planned a waterfront mini-downtown, while the downtown we have barely limps along. It wants a deal-breaking $300 million public handout in an era of red budgets and control boards. The NFTA, not surprisingly, has yet to line up a penny. "This thing will die of its own weight," said Rep. Brian Higgins, the force behind recent small but notable waterfront steps. "It's a fantasy." The plan has everything in it plus the kitchen sink: Aquarium, water park, convention center, marina, theater, high-rise condos, shops, offices, canals and hotels. All that's missing is a theme park, but I don't want to give anybody any ideas. The convention center already has been blasted as a misplaced fantasy by the mayor and county executive, the NFTA's supposed "partners" in this not-so-excellent adventure. So much for coordination.Well, I said the only thing this plan was missing was an elevator to the moon, but theme park gets the point across, too.
Paging Donn Esmonde...
Have you been visiting here? Your column today sounds very familiar. I'm glad to see Esmonde agrees with me, as does Brian Higgins. And Brian Higgins is a guy worth listening to when it comes to Buffalo's waterfront. After all, he managed to actually get the most dysfunctional legislature in the country to pony up some money for the most neglected waterfront in the State. That's quite a feat.