BUDC hires NYC firm for infrastructure analysis between Centennial Park and Canalside

The Buffalo Urban Development Corp. is hiring a New York City engineering and design firm to develop a plan for infrastructure, public space and streetscape improvements in downtown Buffalo that will better link the Canalside and waterfront area to the new Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park.

BUDC on Dec. 20 approved a $150,000 contract with a team led by MIG Inc., which beat out nine other bidders – including four from Buffalo and Rochester – for the five-month project.

The goal is to “ensure a shared/common vision along downtown portions of Buffalo’s waterfront,” according to a memo from BUDC President Brandye Merriweather. That includes provisions for public spaces, multimodal transportation hubs, connections between existing and pending waterfront projects, an enhanced ties between the Inner Harbor and Centennial Park.

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The approval comes as construction manager Gilbane Co. prepares to start the overhaul of the former LaSalle Park into Centennial Park. Scott Lawn Yard workers have already “taken down a considerable number of trees” in the old park, and “we expect them to be completed by year-end,” said John K.S. Cleary, senior project executive for Gilbane and head of its Buffalo office.

Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen noted that the tree removal has been “controversial” among conservationists, but “they’ll be putting in more.”

In turn, though, that will allow for work to begin on a new pedestrian bridge, athletic fields and other new features. The first phase of construction is expected to finish by September 2024.

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