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Canalside landscape improvements – what happens next

The big news coming out of First Niagara Center today involved Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and president Ted Black. The team announced plans to complete the landscaping and grooming of the unfinished parcels on the Central Wharf.

Admittedly, things around the newly cobbled section of Canalside have looked pretty grungy since the street grid was completed in 2010. Jersey barriers, toppled over fencing, weeds and construction debris are strewn all over the place, giving the neighborhood an unkempt look. An architect named Charlie Gordon recently laid out some excellent ideas and renderings in this article on Buffalo Rising. Good stuff.

So now that the big announcement, and a commitment of $120,000 of Mr. Pegula’s private contribution has been made, here is what will happen next:

-Do gooders Tim Tielman and Mark Goldman will file an Article 78 proceeding in State Supreme Court, claiming that the planned sod, made of Kentucky Bluegrass, does not conform to the historic accuracy of the grass that existed on this sacrosanct land back in the 1800s, and that only Perennial Ryegrass should be permitted.

-Assemblyman Mickey Kearns will introduce legislation in the Assembly seeking a six month delay in the installation of the landscaping, so that an 11 member commission can be empaneled to make a proper determination on what type of landscaping should be installed at Canalside. “What’s another few months so that we get it right?” the Assemblyman will plead, while searching in vain for a State Senate co sponsor.

-The Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County will file a lawsuit, claiming that this landscaping is a veiled attempt to expand the footprint of the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino further into the Cobblestone District, and will cite the increase in bankruptcies, suicides, potholes, locusts, children’s tooth decay etc to bolster their claims.

-City of Buffalo work crews will begin undertaking the needed work, but will immediately be upended by peer work crews employed by Buffalo Place, who will cite their working contract with the ECHDC as giving them exclusive authority to perform any landscaping and maintenance work at the Central Wharf. The Common Council will pass a memorial resolution transfering the land to the city. The Mayor will hold a news conference.

-Marine Drive tenants and their erstwhile mouthpiece Joe Mascia, former legislature candidate loser and future assembly candidate double loser, will file a lawsuit, claiming the health hazards to the tenants, who will have to endure the drift of lawn pesticides once this new sod is in place.

-Thursday night concert promoters will return their events back to Lafayette Square, since the toppled over eyesore fencing will no longer be in place and the Central Wharf footprint can no longer be secured.

-The ECHDC board will deliberate all these turns of events at their June meeting, and July, then summer recess, then in the fall. Pretty renderings will be unveiled and a press conference scheduled. “We want to fast track this landscaping enhancement, the people in this community are tired of waiting for The Waterfront We Deserve,” will say Tom Dee of the development corporation, while pushing back the construction timetable yet farther into the future..

-Buffalo Riverkeepers will chime in and say that landscape stone and mulch will be so much nicer than grass. ECHDC will form a committee to study.

-With the planned expansion of lawn space, the world famous #ECShack will double their number of picnic tables from two to four. Renderings will be unveiled on Buffalo Rising, prompting 75 or so reader comments debating the merits of the “suburban crap” style of picnic tables and the outrageous fenestration of the Shack.

Finally, after a new $150,000 consulting contract is awarded to Fred Kent and the Project for Public Spaces and they issue their report, and a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is developed and published, especially concerning the impact of the snail darters indigenous to the Buffalo River and how water runoff from this new lawn space will affect them, the installation of the landscaping can finally begin. Retired columnist Donn Esmonde will publish several articles lauding Goldman and Tielman for their leadership and fine work.

Planned ribbon cutting date for the landscape improvements: MEMORIAL DAY 2017. Messrs Pegula and Black will be on hand to preside over the ceremonies, and the public is invited to take part in the event, with a reception catered by the #ECShack immediately to follow.

Follow Andrew Kulyk on Twitter @akulykUSRT.


  • Mike_Chmiel

    If there has ever been an article written that more accurately captures Buffalo than this one, I have not seen it.  Kudos to the author!

  • Chris Ostrander

    Question. Will the grass and temporary lighting stanchions for the Skyway be added to the Canalside design standards? If not, we should form a committee to study the committee who formed the committee on the design standards.

  • peteherr

    True dat.

  • You forgot about the hold that City Hall places on the entire project until a diversity consultant of their choice gets a $250,000 contract to “monitor” the implementation of the work plan.