Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper starts construction on new ‘Buffalo Blueway’ site at Higgins Park

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper has started construction on enhancements at Erie County’s Thomas F. Higgins Riverfront Park adjacent to the Bailey Avenue bridge, at the confluence of the Buffalo River and Cazenovia Creek. Construction is estimated to be completed before this summer water season ends.

Waterkeeper contracted with Anchor QEA for design of the project at Higgins Park, and Scott Lawn Yard for the construction. The enhancements will include debris deflectors, as well as a stabilized shoreline using pinned ledge rock, an at-grade culvert to connect the Buffalo River to an existing wetland, a graded paddle sport egress point, benches, educational signage and a blueway marker that’s easy to spot from the water.

Funded with a grant from the Empire State Development and Erie County, the project will improve public access by creating a water-based trail system that also connects to the land-based Greenway system.

“The Parks Department is grateful and appreciative of great community partners like Waterkeeper. Erie County Parks has made huge investments in our parks, particularly our habitat parks like Higgins Parks,”  said Commissioner Troy P. Schinzel. “These projects bring vitality and restoration to the natural park environments, and much-needed natural recreation opportunities to the local community, as well. Our partners, such as Waterkeeper, are a big part of that success.”

In January 2017, New York state announced a $10 million award to Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper in an effort to expand and enhance waterfront access. Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s Buffalo Blueway project aims to connect a network of public access points located strategically near existing sites and attractions along Lake Erie, the Niagara River and Buffalo River corridors in order to increase recreation and tourism, and spur economic development.

Since then, numerous enhancement projects have been implemented, including enhancements at Buffalo RiverWorks, Wilkeson Pointe, Mutual Riverfront Park, Ohio Street and Red Jacket Park.

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