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Business and Labor

On the Waterfront

640px-LAKE_ERIE_WATERFRONT_LOOKING_TOWARD_THE_BETHLEHEM_STEEL_PLANT_IN_LACKAWANNA,_JUST_SOUTH_OF_BUFFALO_-_NARA_-_552049(Buffalo, NY) There’s just no avoiding this topic here: the decaying steel and concrete structures on the waterfront that blot out our city’s potential beauty. With great and famous architecture, and a wonderfully planned park system throughout, Buffalo should be a brightly shining jewel on the Great Lakes… if only there wasn’t that mess on the waterfront.

How largely capitalized companies were allowed to “take the money and run”, without providing the funds necessary for cleanup during years of profit taking, is no longer relevant to finding a solution. The time to assess a proper fee for eventual environmental cleanup is during a company’s operation, but that time has long since passed. The wreckage on Buffalo’s waterfront remains.

Politicians keep trying to sell us the same tiring solution, decade after decade, of a tax give-away to one or more large corporations. It’s time we pushed for a real, long-term solution by demanding government funding for public space all along the waterfront. This solution will benefit our community for generations to come, serving to entice relocation into the city and to the wider WNY region.

Contact your local and state politicians to demand an end to schemes for more corporate welfare, and to show your support for direct investment by state and local government on the waterfront. Let’s finally clean up that mess the corporations left behind.

UPDATE: Buffalo Rising has coverage of a grassroots effort to establish an Olmsted-like park on the outer harbor. These are the types of initiative that Buffalo needs in order to find long-term solutions, rather than more tax give-aways to large corporations (like Bass Pro). <http://www.buffalorising.com/2013/04/olmsteds-21st-century-park-on-the-outer-harbor.html >

UPDATE #2: Artvoice has this piece about green public space on the outer harbor by Bruce Fisher, who is the director of the the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at SUNY Buffalo State College. <http://artvoice.com/issues/v12n17/news_analysis >

Photo: “LAKE ERIE WATERFRONT LOOKING TOWARD THE BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT IN LACKAWANNA, JUST SOUTH OF BUFFALO” by George Burns – from the National Archives and Records Administration.

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