A Plan for Stadiums, Retail, Museums, and Everything Else
by Kevin F. Yost
The idea for a stadium for the Buffalo Bills along the Buffalo waterfront sounds nice in some ways. However, there is no need for a new convention center, as the current Buffalo Convention Center has just been renovated and the Niagara Falls Conference Center opened not long ago to replace its predecessor. As for retail, Buffalo, just like Rochester and Syracuse and other Upstate cities, already has a glut of empty downtown retail and office space. Also, millions were spent to build Ralph Wilson Stadium 40 years ago and millions more spent to renovate it in the late 1990s. Therefore, if there should be another new stadium, not one dollar for it should come from taxpayers.
There do need to be more museums in Buffalo and Niagara Falls for tourism at the same time of bringing back manufacturing and innovative research there and to the rest of Upstate New York. Such a museum could go elsewhere to Buffalo’s downtown and Inner Harbor, perhaps connected with the Sabres, or with Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. It should also tie in with the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, showing their local sports history, as well as take in both local sports memorabilia, which was to be in the shelved “Fandemoneum,” and also have the restaurant that was to be part of that, similar to the new restaurant in the Buffalo Naval Servicemen’s Park, as well as the national sports memorabilia of the short-lived Sports Museum of America in Manhattan, whose contents are in a storage locker in New Jersey, plus Canada’s sports history and memorabilia.
Meanwhile, the Billie Jean King International Women’s Sports Center and Hall of Fame of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which had a short-lived permanent home in that also-short-lived museum in Manhattan, should also get a new permanent home, but in Rochester, side-by-side with a new home for a re-formed National Soccer Hall of Fame of US Soccer after the original one closed in Oneonta, New York, two years ago. Keep in mind the halls of fame for ice hockey, football, baseball, wrestling, boxing, basketball, volleyball, harness racing, baseball, Little League, weightlifting, and lacrosse are all within driving distance of both cities an within or just outside Upstate New York.
Another space that has been in the news lately is what to do with the rest of the Rainbow Centre in Niagara Falls that is not occupied by Niagara County Community College’s new Culinary Center. Either this or the vacant land owned by Niagara Falls Redevelopment should be occupied by the proposed “Niagara Experience Center,” which should include a new energy-efficient wintergarden and waterfalls that was to be included in the shelved “Aquafalls” up there. Also, the Medina Historic Railroad should also be extended to Niagara Falls to the west and High Falls in Rochester to the east along the former New York Central Falls Branch right-of-way and should have scenic stops at the waterfalls in Lockport, Medina, and Albion as well. Plus, the proposed Wizard of Oz themepark should be built on the site of the also-vacant Summit Park Mall just outside the “Cataract City” limits.
As well, the newly renamed Buffalo History Museum, Jefferson Avenue Gallery, and Iron Island Museum, as well as other current and future local history museums in the city of Buffalo and suburbs should all have a working relationship with one another. (As should the a few different local history museums in Rochester).
The proposed weather and architecture museums and a reopened Niagara Aerospace Museum be at either the Buffalo Inner or Outer Harbors, the Richardson Complex, or two sites in Niagara Falls. Meanwhile, a museum for Presidents Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland could go in either of those three Buffalo locations.
Down on the Buffalo Inner and Outer Harbors, there should be a “Cheerio’s Museum” As well, the contents of the former Bergwardt Bicycle Museum that closed in Orchard Park should go in with the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce Arrow Museum. This, as well as the proposed Great Lakes/Erie Canal Museum, which should happen, should all tie in with each other and proposed railroad museum, plus the Maritime Museum, which is at the Francis G. Ward Pumping Station. The Buffalo Firefighter’s Museum should also come to the harbor and occupy either the DL&W Terminal, with the ticket halls rebuilt, or one of the two terminals, all three of which the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority should vacate, while the Great Lakes/Erie Canal Museum occupies the other. Meanwhile, one terminal should be kept to have a new ferry to Canada on the route of the former Canadiana, while there should also be a new second span of the Peace Bridge (that and the expanded plaza north of the current one, not south, to preserve the seven historic structures), as well as new bridges from Route 198 (Scajacquada) and Sheridan Drive (Route 324), with 198 and 33 made into parkways/boulevards west of the Thruway and the same with the current Interstate 190 between Michigan Avenue and Sheridan, intergrated with Niagara Street.
Also, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5 museum, which was also turned down from the Inner Harbor, should go to along the river or Lake Ontario waterfronts of Youngstown, Rochester, or Oswego, or the Inner Harbor area of Syracuse, where Onondaga Creek meets Onondaga Lake.
> Kevin F. Yost, Henrietta
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