"If you're for Buffalo, your for this project (Canalside development)," that according to Canalside Development Corporation's President Thomas Dee. But, can I be doubtful about pieces of this project and still be for Buffalo? I sure hope so.
Don't get me wrong, what they have done so far is great. The Erie Canal Harbor Project is beautiful. It's created a place of tranquility in the middle of downtown Buffalo, but there's still one gaping hole in the project, Bass Pro. The old Aud is gone and left in it's place is another brownfield being prepped for Bass Pro. The only problem? Bass Pro has still not signed an agreement to build on the site. They are downsizing their development staff and have just scrapped store plans in Augusta.
We're coming up on 8 years since Bass Pro announced they were "lured" into coming to Buffalo. Since then we get 6 month updates reminding us they're still coming and that's about it. I hate to be a cynic, but this is starting to feel like the Adelphia office building. The crown jewel of the waterfront that was convicted with John Rigas. Last time we gave state money to Adelphia, this time we demolished the Aud. I'm worried that we haven't learned from our mistakes. We need to develop that area with or without Bass Pro and it's time for them to jump in with us.
Canalside will be beautiful, but forgive me if I don't want to put all my eggs on reeling in a fishing store. I believe we can revitalize Buffalo-ourselves. We may need some money, and even a little luck, but we have the ideas and the people here willing to do it. We will make it better and you can weigh that idea in, she's a winner.