But if the argument is whether it’s crazy to dedicate part of the Outer Harbor as a performance space, the answer is no.
Despite criticism that Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. Ignored public comment, its CEO, Steve Ranalli, retorts that the plan follows five years of planning that have included significant public input through a variety of forums. Even environmental groups backed the plan, he said. âWe tried to do a good job of reaching out to a large part of the community at all of these meetings. “
The proposal, which is still awaiting final approval, will also include a panoramic terrace, cycle paths, bike racks, a habitat restoration area, a walking path and limited lighting.
But the outer harbor also includes Times Beach Nature Reserve at its northern end, the passive attractions of Wilkeson Pointe, and other walking and biking areas. And, while not affiliated with the outer harbor, just across Route 5 is the 264-acre Tifft Nature Reserve, rescued in the 1970s from short-term abuse as a dumping ground. There is no shortage of natural and calm spaces along and near the outer harbor.
One criticism of the plan is that by planting a lawn, the area will become a sort of “desert” of grass – without trees or habitat. Some parts would, indeed, be an artificial landscape – just like Delaware Park and New York’s Central Park. Of course, these two landscapes also include wooded areas, just as the outer harbor will, if the performance space is approved. Central Park also hosts major concerts.