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Union Ship Canal Park to Open Soon

Within a few weeks, there will be another amenity on the Buffalo Waterfront, as the rain-delayed Union Ship Canal Park opens. 

"We think of it as kind of the southern anchor for the Niagara Greenway," said Buffalo Urban Development Corporation Vice President David Stebbins.

This $6.5 million dollar mix of park construction and environmental cleanup serves the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park with its mix of light manufacturing and office space.

The strange weather this summer has disrupted completion of the park around the Union Ship Canal, once an essential ship artery into the Waterfront's array of plants involved in iron and steel manufacture.

As the plants closed, the canal filled in and the land around it became a classic brownfield, contaminated land from the manufacturing which once took place there.

State Department of Environmental Conservation is also doing a cleanup where the canal runs under the Father Baker Bridge.

"We're actually creating an aquatic habitat," Stebbins said. Other water activities, including kayaking, are part of the plans.

The biggest delay right now is a bridge which will span a canal once filled with lake freighters bringing in supplies for the iron and steel industry.

The park is improving the visibility of the Waterfront as a place to do business. 

"They (prospective businesses) are seeing that (the park) really is in the core of the urban area," said Stebbins who met with a prospect yesterday looking into locating in the park.