Buffalo South Lakeshore/Union Ship Canal, New York
North of downtown Buffalo along Fuhrmann Boulevard, is a stretch of the formerly industrial Lake Erie shore which is being redeveloped as the Outer Harbor Parkway. The industrial buildings and silos closest to the city have mostly been demolished. Streets and parks are being slowly developed on the now empty land. The Tift nature preserve and a marina are about 3 miles south of downtown. The Tift preserve is a marshy bird sanctuary with trails and parking. I walked through trails in the preserve to the train tracks along Buffalo Creek. It's possible to access two sets of abandoned silos this way. The preserve itself is pretty, though mosquito infested.
The Union Ship Canal Park, a little under 4 miles from downtown is part of a larger redevelopment project that includes an office park. Both are connected to the Outer Harbor Parkway. I was generally skeptical of the Union Ship Canal development. It seemed that a lot of money had been spent on a park that was effectively cut-off from residential areas and thus potential users. The park was empty when I visited. The office park's grounds been elaborately and expensively developed so as to resemble a suburban style office park. Historical/informational plaques are scattered around with pictures of the former industrial landscape. A few tenants had built buildings in the park as of 2013 but the land was still mostly empty. I wonder why anyone thinks that offices and office workers benefit from being surrounded by parks? It seems that they would benefit more from having coffee shops, restaurants, stores or homes nearby. What bothered me most about the Union Canal and Outer Harbor developments was the practice of placing historical plaques everywhere that detail/celebrate the area's history. All of the physical artifacts of that history - such as buildings however have been entirely eradicated by the redevelopment. The sanitizing and erasing of historic artifacts while simultaneously promoting an area's history makes no sense to me. The Outer Harbor Parkway is however a very nice place to get away from people and walk along the lake shore. The site of the former Lackawanna steel mill is just south of the Union Ship Canal. Here's a link to a PDF with information about the Buffalo waterfront and redevelopment plan.
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