By Emma Sapong, Buffalo News, link to original (full) post
Ship Canal Commons, a $9.2 million waterfront park, is the new centerpiece of the Buffalo Lake Side Commerce park.
The new park, along Union Ship Canal, officially opened Monday. The 22-acre, public green space boasts restored native trees, aquatic wildlife, bike paths, hiking trails, fishing spots and a pedestrian bridge that spans Union Ship Canal. A multi-use trail connects visitors to the outer harbor, Tifft Nature Preserve and the Seaway Trail.
Ship Canal Commons also serves as the southern anchor to the Niagara Greenway.
Its bevy of recreational assets could also have economical benefits, attracting more commercial tenants to the transformed brownfields that were once the site of Hanna Furnace plant. Lakeside is anchored by three companies — CertainTeed Corp., Cobey Inc. and Sonwil Distribution — that employ more than 400 employees.
Work to create Ship Canal Commons began last year and entailed debris removal, excavation of contaminated soils and the placement of 2-foot layer of clean soil over the whole site. Sections of the 100-year-old canal wall weren’t sound, so they had to be stabilized by a berm of gravel and sand.
The site had been used by Hanna Furnace for unloading and storage of raw materials, such as limestone and ore. Ship Canal Commons does not depart from its manufacturing past. Its landscaping recalls the region’s steel and iron heritage. The project also included work to improve conditions so native species of fish and other aquatic wildlife survival and multiple survive and multiply through the Buffalo River basin.