Preliminary plans for the Outer Harbor land site and the emerging policies of Elitism
by Pat Freeman
The past few months the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. has held a series of public forums on the use of the long time vacant industrial Brownfield site we know as the Outer Harbor. Many of us attended four of the five meetings in which a large constituency of citizens expressed their support of the Outer Harbor Stadium Complex private investment proposal which would create 8,000-15,000 living wage jobs in Western New York with private investment financing.
From the very beginning stadium complex supporters were disenfranchised by hostilities that were cultivated by the elitist misinformation campaign of this area designed to stifle, and control all Western New York development. There are some very important facts that have been systematically left out of the conversation and the reporting by the larger media outlets which I believe is the most egregious issue of fair reporting. Let’s state some facts.
1. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. President Thomas Dee was presented over 3,000 petition signatures and 42 letters from various organizations from WNY at the second forum at the Stanley Makowski School in support of the Outer Harbor Stadium complex private investment proposal.
2. Perkins and Will representatives were also given 3,000 petition signatures and 42 letters also. Perkins and Will is the design team hired by ECHDC for $750,000 to put together this development design allegedly based on public input.
3. Congressman Brian Higgins the self proclaimed champion of the waterfront was also presented with 3,000 petition signatures and 42 letters from various organization, officials, and a unanimous resolution signed by the Buffalo Common Council where the land is located.
4. During each forum it was reported to ECHDC reps, and their President Thomas Dee that stadium supporters were being harassed and their suggestion stickers were being removed from the boards showing the support of a stadium complex
5. During the forth forum the rep from Perkins and Will stated at the beginning this particular forum that the stadium would no longer be discussed at this setting, and that everyone was aware that the Governor had hired a firm (AECOM) to study stadium sites and they would monitor the release of that particular announcement. They stated that the stadium idea for the outer harbor had received roughly 47 for the stadium 99 no. Which I dispute the accuracy of such a count because many stadium supporters complained that their stickers were removed and were being harassed during the forums.
6. Very few people attending these forums mentioned housing as a viable development on the Outer Harbor.
In closing it is my belief that there should be a formal investigation of the actions of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. to push forth an elitist agenda on the Outer Harbor Land with the use of New York Power Authority funds, public financing to create high end residential developments on the Outer Harbor. The facts remain that when you were presented overwhelming documentation in support of the privately financed stadium complex proposal by the citizens this publicly financed entity has continued to push forth an elitist select agenda no matter what the public has stated!
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