Gov. Hochul’s plan for cruise ships to arrive, depart and dock in Buffalo lacks details, but tourism could benefit from the proposal, says Visit Buffalo Niagara

BUFFALO, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul visited Buffalo on Monday with big announcements about Canalside and the Outer Harbor.

Announcements worth $216.2 million. Millions to develop the North Aud Block at Canalside, as well as millions to restore over 200 acres of the Outer Harbour.

It is a transformational investment. But one of the most talked about ideas from Governor Hochul’s announcement is the idea of ​​bringing passenger ships to the Queen City.

“We’re going to bring more passenger freight and passenger cruise ships to Buffalo,” Gov. Hochul said Monday. “What a radical idea, and we’re going to make it happen.”

2 Your turn reached out to Governor Hochul’s office on Tuesday to ask the following questions:

  • Are there infrastructure changes that need to happen for ships to dock somewhere along the Buffalo waterfront?
  • Is there a general idea of ​​where a cruise ship should dock for this to work?
  • Is the Buffalo River deep enough?
  • Has there been any commitment from a cruise line to make Buffalo a stop?
  • Is there a timetable the governor would like this to happen?

The governor’s office deferred our request for remarks the governor made at her press conference and during her media Q&A. None of these questions were asked or answered during the event.

The only details available from the governor were that the cruise ships would be similar to what you see on a European river cruise, would not carry thousands of people, and would require some form of a welcome center.

Patrick Kaler of Visit Buffalo Niagara has heard about the success of Great Lakes cruises and says it’s big business.

“Millions of dollars, it’s been around since the late 1990s,” Kaler said.

A press release issued by Cruise The Great Lakes in June suggests that the Great Lakes cruise industry collectively generated $120 million in economic impact for participating cities in the US and Canada.

Visit Buffalo Niagara recently became a member of Cruise The Great Lakes.

So why exactly has Buffalo missed this opportunity?

“My understanding is that it is the depth of [of the harbor] at this point,” Kaler said. “Getting boats into Buffalo itself now would require tenders to bring passengers back and forth from the ship to the destination itself.”

Still, for Kaler, the governor’s promise to bring passenger ships to Buffalo is a tremendous opportunity for the Queen City.

“One of the great possibilities I’d like to see for Buffalo is that we would be one of those arrival or departure cities that would help us get an overnight visit ‘before’ or ‘after’ the actual cruise .”

Hochul also announced that the state would close the funding gap required for the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper to complete a feasibility study focused on expanding the Buffalo Riverwalk.

“[We’ve] always envisioned a continuous path connecting the inner and outer harbors along the water,” said Jill Jedlicka, executive director at Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. “A lot of times some of these paths and trails bounce back and forth between being at the water’s edge . to be on the side of the road”.

The study began in April and is expected to be completed by the end of September. Part of the hope is that the study outlines ways to improve traffic flow in and out of the Outer Harbor while providing pedestrians and cyclists with safer ways to cycle through the region.

“This will give us a preliminary assessment of whether this concept is even feasible, which we think it is,” Jedlicka said. “Then the next phase is to really start looking at those concepts and design and also negotiating and talking to the landowners about how to do that.”

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