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Progress Toward Enhancing Buffalo Harbor State Park


Spray Ground, Signature Art Sculpture, and Café/Retail Space To Be Added

Project Will Expand Outdoor Recreation on Buffalo's Outer Harbor Waterfront

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced progress toward enhancing Buffalo Harbor State Park with work underway on $47.5 million in new upgrades to the park. The project includes a new spray ground, signature art sculpture and fountain, café/retail space and park office and will help provide Buffalo residents and Western New Yorkers with more options to safely cool off and escape the heat in a warming climate.

“We are continuing to transform Buffalo's Outer Harbor Waterfront by providing more public access and creating a vibrant area for residents and visitors to enjoy,” Governor Hochul said. “Buffalo Harbor State Park is a special destination on our waterfront, and these additions will further improve the experience for all Western New York families and offer a world class destination for visitors of all ages to recreate, relax and watch our amazing sunsets.”

The spray ground will offer children a new active play experience and provide a safe and clean water source to cool off on the Buffalo waterfront and will be adjacent to a large Buffalo sculpture/fountain. Completion of this project is expected by Memorial Day 2026. Additional improvements will include a café/retail space, park office with public restrooms, expansion of the playground to include additional inclusive equipment as well as dedicated space for food trucks and updated park furnishings. Construction work will be performed by Mark Cerrone Inc. from Niagara Falls.

Upgrades to Buffalo Harbor State Park supports Governor Hochul's vision to increase waterfront accessibility, recreation opportunities and continue to add vibrancy to Buffalo's Outer Harbor Waterfront. Governor Hochul previously announced earlier this year the opening of the Terminal B Events Center and the newly improved Bell Slip. The Terminal B Events Center created a new outdoor events center and surrounding open space by rehabilitating a vacant structure and utilizing existing parking, while reclaiming 7 acres of contaminated property to open additional public access with new lake views. The Bell Slip Improvement Project added many long sought-after amenities to Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, including a public restroom building and an additional parking lot at a central location.

New York State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, “Western New Yorkers love summer, and the waterfront at Buffalo Harbor State Park is already a magnificent place to enjoy both. As we celebrate the park system’s centennial this year, we are grateful to Governor Hochul for her ongoing commitment to state parks and for recognizing the beauty and opportunity of this park. I am confident that when complete, Buffalo Harbor will cater to a wider range of park users and be an even more popular waterfront destination.”

Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera said, “Following a week in Western New York where temperatures reached over 90 degrees, Buffalo residents are increasingly seeking out public spaces to cool off. With the $47.5 million in upgrades Governor Hochul has announced for Buffalo Harbor State Park, residents of all ages will be able to enjoy our city’s natural amenities while staying cool, and will also be able to spend time exploring an expanded Outer Harbor that includes new public art, retail space and new playground equipment. I thank Governor Hochul for her vision to increase accessibility to our region’s waterfront, and I know that these improvements will be a welcome addition to a space that is quickly growing into one of our region’s premier recreation hubs.”

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and vision for Buffalo Harbor State Park. The project serves as another example of Buffalo’s growing waterfront. This investment will attract thousands of residents and visitors annually.”

The upgrades to the park will also complement the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Empire State Trail Gateway which serves as the beginning/end point of the 750-mile-long Empire State Trail. In 2017, New York State launched the Empire State Trail to promote outdoor recreation, encourage healthy lifestyles, support community vitality, and bolster tourism-related economic development.

Buffalo Harbor is the City of Buffalo’s only state park. Boasting beautiful views of Lake Erie, the park is home to a 1,100-slip marina, a restaurant, boat launches, personal watercraft launches, fish cleaning station, restrooms, and a waterfront for strolling and sunbathing, and a nautical themed playground great for kids of all ages. In addition, the park is adjacent to the popular Tifft Nature Preserve.

2024 marks the 100th anniversary the State Parks system. Celebratory initiatives include ‘Blazing A Trail,’ an interactive timeline chronicling the agency’s history and influential figures; an exhibit in the New York State Capitol’s State Street Tunnel currently on view; the Share Your Story project, which invites people to tell their own stories relating to Parks and Sites; the Centennial Challenge, which encourages people to win prizes by participating in various activities at parks and sites; and the release of the Centennial Collection merchandise, which includes t-shirts, hoodies, mugs and more. Additional initiatives will be announced throughout 2024.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which saw a record 84 million visits in 2023. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit  parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer app or call 518.474.0456. Join us in celebrating our Centennial throughout 2024, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly Twitter) and the OPRHP Blog.

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