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Buffalo Mayor Asks the Transit Authority for Help with His Homework

previously published on BuffaloSoapBox

Douglas Adams once said, “I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by,” and this is a sentiment apparently shared by those holding the fate of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor in their hands.

Buffalo Outer Harbor

Buffalo Outer Harbor

I’m a little confused about this article, perhaps I should start there.  If I remember correctly, the deadline for proposals by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation and the City of Buffalo was September28th.  But according to YNN, the NFTA is still asking for these proposals as of October 12th.

The stumbling block, it seems, is that neither the city nor the ECHDC feels they should have to pay for the property.  This is over 400 acres of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor we’re talking about, but both Brian Higgins and Mayor Byron Brown expect the NFTA to simply hand over the property to one of the two entities free and clear.  Which entity will ultimately gain control will be decided by a best of five rock-paper-scissor duel between Higgins and Brown.

Brian Higgins

Brian Higgins

Higgins has said this is because the property would need $30 million in repairs, and that alone justifies the freebie.  Is that $30 million on top of whatever development takes place or is that his rough estimate of how much his waterfront project is going to cost?

He’s also criticized the NFTA for having made “three requests for proposals over the last five years with no tangible progress.”

Byron Brown has stated that he wants to “get together” with the NFTA and develop a proposal with them.  He wants to sit down and “talk through it… to look at a range of possibilities.”

Could it be that the NFTA has made no tangible progress because no one has responded in any tangible way to their requests?  Two weeks after the deadline for proposals, the Mayor of Buffalo is suggesting that he sit down with the NFTA to create a proposal?

I don’t think that’s how this works.  Why does the NFTA have to do sit down and do your work for you?  Why is this demand that the land be handed over only coming to light now, rather than the months—if not years—prior to the deadline of this latest request?

Brown wanting to sit down with the NFTA to create a proposal with them suggests that he doesn’t have one at all, and that is terrifying.  If he’s already refusing to pay for the property then what exactly is Brown bringing to the table?

YNN ends their article stating that the NFTA wants proposals submitted within 60 days.  I thought the deadline was two weeks ago?  Wasn’t September 28th the date that the City and ECHDC needed to submit their proposals?  Where has this additional 60 days come from?  When does it begin and end?  Why are we even asking that?  Isn’t the deadline the deadline?

Where is the city’s proposal?  Where is the ECHDC’s?

The NFTA paid nothing for the property, that’s what you’re upset about Brian Higgins?  You don’t want to pay for the property because they didn’t 60 years ago when they took it over from the Port Authority?  Get over it.  Make an offer, get control, rebuild it.  NOW.  This city has been dying without a waterfront, whether as a commercial harbor or a tourist attraction, for the last sixty years.  Do something about it.  Do something other than cry about how unfair it is you have to pay for a piece of land you want to own.

creepy abandoned mansion

As this house is a liability and not an asset, it is now free to whoever wants it.

Let’s put it this way:

There’s a house on Buffalo’s East Side an individual wants to buy.  It’s owned by the City of Buffalo and listed at $7,000.

The problem is, the house is a disaster.  It’s going to need new water pipes, new wiring, drywall, appliances, bathroom fixtures, cabinets.  In short, it needs to be gutted and rebuilt from its broken basement windows on up.  What’s the going to run?  $60,000?  More?

By Brian Higgins’ logic, the City of Buffalo should just give that individual the house.  They shouldn’t have to pay a cent for it.  After all, a house in that state of disrepair is not an asset to the city, but a liability, and we haven’t seen any tangible progress on the City’s part to rehabilitate the property.

That’s not going to fly is it?

Get your proposals in order.  This has gone on long enough.


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