WNYMBA issued the press release printed below last week to update on progress on the Outer Harbor. There has been a lot of progress on the new biking area, but at the request of EDHDC, we have been quiet about it. They have now allowed us to go public on the progress being made. And it's not a moment too soon because they have been getting push back from folks who haven't been encumbered by a request to be quiet. But the good news is this project is going forward in accordance with the revised master plan (http://eriecanalharbor.com/outer-harbor/PDF/Outer_Harbor_Blueprint.pdf), and ECHDC is, at WNYMBA's suggestion, going forward and retaining a bike-park specific consultant to provide design assistance and construction should start next year.
Here is the text of our press release:
June 15, 2017
WNYMBA STATEMENT - BUFFALO OUTER HARBOR OFF-ROAD CYCLING AREA
Construction Begins 1st Quarter 2018
Almost two years to the day after an initial approach to ECHDC (Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation), WNYMBA (Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association) is pleased to announce that an off-road cycling park at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor has been included in the overall Outer Harbor Project Plan. The design will be completed by this fall, with a construction start on the project just over the horizon. The cycling park will provide beginner-friendly facilities, including a pump track and narrow trails, together with varying degrees of skill-building features.
WNYMBA’s first proposal to ECHDC in mid-2015 offered to install volunteer-built, single track, off-road cycling trails in the Bell Slip area of the Outer Harbor, an area of the Lake Erie waterfront long unused in Buffalo’s history. That idea ultimately grew, dovetailing superbly with ECHDC’s overall plan of expanded use for the entire Outer Harbor. With the support of Board Members Sam Hoyt and Robert Gioia and Staff members Steve Rinalli and Chris Catanzaro, WNYMBA’s proposals were submitted and modified over time and in September of 2015, the concept of a family-oriented off-road cycling area was formally integrated into the Master Plan for the long-vacant Outer Harbor area and presented to the public in an open Board Meeting by ECHDC President Tom Dee.
“It’s been a rewarding process,” said Jon Sundquist, WNYMBA’s President. “Since our earliest beginnings in 1992, we’ve established a great record of trail-building and land stewardship with both Erie County and the New York State DEC, but we’d never been in a position of competing for resources, as we have in this case. This project was never about building trails for the very experienced WNYMBA riders. Our intention from Day 1 was to help build an urban riding area where kids and families could ride their bikes and learn about nature in an easy and safe, off-road setting.”
Along the way, ECHDC worked to balance input from competing user groups, including one that incorrectly presented the cycling project as a disruptive, speed-oriented, mountain bike theme park, designed to adversely impact the environment. WNYMBA’s position throughout, was to assist ECHDC whenever possible, to emphasize that this component of the blueprint would be both environmentally friendly and one that would enable families and children to enjoy a new kind of cycling in the Outer Harbor area.
Incorporating information taken from several presentations by WNYMBA during the past two-year period, ECHDC this month issued an RFP (Request for Proposal) to experienced trail-building firms for the design of an off-road cycling area in the Bell Slip area of the Outer Harbor. A final design plan will be selected by August 25th, 2017 and the successful design consultant will be a sub-consultant to ECHDC’s prime design firm for the Outer Harbor, TWMLA. Construction will begin in the first-quarter of 2018.
WNYMBA congratulates ECHDC on an excellent job of balancing all the various interests involved in the Outer Harbor and for working hard to offer yet one more opportunity to the families and children of Western New York. More information on WNYMBA, the region’s premier off-road cycling club, is available at “wnymba.org.”