Money Talks, River Waits

As the waterfront revolution sweeps across the Great Lakes, a coalition of municipal leaders is rising up to oppose a 50-year plan to transform the Niagara riverfront from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario with parks, trails, and public access, according to an article by Buffalo News reporter Mark Sommer.

The Niagara River Greenway plan is widely viewed as a strategy to help revitalize depressed western New York by making targeted investments to improve quality of life. But the plan is projected to direct some $145 million into the region over the next five decades. And that's ignited a political run for the money.

The fued comes as New York's own Bruce Katz, the urban redevelopment guru from Brookings, argues in a recent piece that reviving cities like Buffalo with, among other things, projects that reclaim riverfronts from industry and give them back to the people is essential to competing in today's knowledge economy.

Still, the Niagara Power Coalition contends the boundaries of the plan are too narrow and advocates funding for a broader area.

"Their position is irresponsible to future generations," Julie Barrett O'Neill, the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, told the News.