Canalside 2012: Get in on the action

Initial programming efforts are underway for Canalside 2012. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) is seeking proposals from the public – mainly non-profits, though for-profits not asking for public money are also encouraged to submit proposals. As an FYI, the artisan market that was originally scheduled to launch this summer is scheduled to launch in 2012. Ramping up that initiative proved to be more time consuming than expected. Luckily, many of this summer’s successful initiatives that were managed by Buffalo Place, will be back again in 2012, including lawn games (photo), kayak rentals and concerts. 

There is plenty of room for individuals and groups to partake in the Canalside Visitor Experience - 2012 Assisted Programming, and people with proposals are encouraged to submit them. The process is easy, with submissions ranging from simple ideas drafted in concise wording to complicated initiatives delivered in detailed presentations. Either way works – just remember to be clear in what you’re proposing to do.

For those who aren’t submitting proposals, but frequent Canalside, it would be great to hear what sort of programming you would like to see at Canalside in 2012. Me? I would like to see Skyway ziplining. 
From the ECHDC:

Background Information


Phase 3A

With the completion of the cobblestone streets in 2010, the first phase of Canalside (known formerly as the Erie Canal Harbor project) was ready for full programming and development.  This Summer’s programming and events have captured the attention of Western New Yorkers, attracted over 300,000 visitors to date, and have created one of the most active public spaces in the City.  ECHDC, through the Canalside Visitor Experience - 2012 Assisted Programming RFP, is once again committed to programming and promoting this waterfront area.  The Canalside Visitor Experience - 2012 Assisted Programming proposals should remain focused on Phase 3A of Canalside.  A map of this area is included in the RFP.


Phase 3B

The next phase of Canalside development will occur on the former Aud Block, with an interpretive landscape of water features and site amenities that will help visitors understand the history and character of the former canal district and its significance to the City and the Nation.  The construction work is expected to commence this winter and be opened to the general public in late 2012.  The Canalside Visitor Experience - 2012 Assisted Programming will consider proposals that relate to Phase 3B of Canalside.


At the same time as the Aud Block construction, it is expected that development on the east side of Main Street (i.e., Donovan Block) will begin, with a completion date of early 2013.  The Canalside Visitor Experience - 2012 Assisted Programming will NOT consider proposals that relate to development on the east side of Main Street.


Other Waterfront Areas

While ECHDC continues to move waterfront development ahead outside of Canalside, there are no approved plans for the adjoining Cobblestone District, Buffalo River and/or Outer Harbor at this time. The Canalside Visitor Experience - 2012 Assisted Programming will NOT consider proposals that are located in the Cobblestone District, along the Buffalo River and/or on the Outer Harbor.


Submission Details


To submit a proposal, please complete the Application Form (Attachment D of the RFP) and supporting documentation as necessary, as well as the required forms (as outlined in Section IV.D of the RFP).


Applicants should submit completed applications to ECHDC by noon on September 23, 2011.  In addition, for those expecting to submit a proposal, a Pre-Submittal Conference will be held at ECHDC on August 31, 2011 at noon (1 hour).


Selection Process


Proposals will be reviewed by members of the Cultural Steering Advisory Group, Buffalo Place, Inc. and ECHDC.   Proposals will be considered based upon the applicant’s ability to meet the criteria for each programming category, as defined in the RFP:


General Programming

Story of Buffalo Programming

Special Programming


Over the past few months, ECHDC and its Cultural Steering Advisory Group have been leading a Cultural Master Plan study with Lord Cultural Resources and Ralph Appelbaum Associates. The Master Plan consultants have completed Stage 1 of a three-stage planning process with recommendations on how focusing on the Story of Buffalo could be developed to help meet the programming objectives of Canalside.


A copy of the Cultural Master Plan, Stage 1 Report is on-line at:


It is recommended that organizations review the Stage 1 Report before submitting a 2012 Assisted Programming     



ECHDC reserves the right to make any and all decisions regarding the selection of proposals submitted, as well as the capacity to consider proposals received after the deadline.


Available Funds


Funding levels, outlined in the RFP, are specific to each programming category.  Attachment A of the RFP provides a cost breakdown for 2011 programming for reference.


RFP Contact Information


Steven Ranalli, Senior Project Manager

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation


About the author  ⁄ WCPerspective

Buffalo and development junkie currently exiled in California.


Buffalo only builds for the wealthy and the majority of them are white.


I want Food Options. Cookouts, Clam bakes, Food Trucks.

I'm glad something was added with the Snack Shack but man cannot live on hot dogs and wraps alone.


It’s not a gated community, anyone can go there. If they chose not to go that’s their own choice. It’s like saying why are there not more women truck drivers? Because they do not want to be there. Why don’t white people go to MLK Park? Because they don’t want to be their…

Mike Duff
Mike Duff

What can we do to increase the diversity of the residents who visit Canalside? Whenever I visit Canalside, the crowds appear to be about 95% white middle class families, white college students, and young white couples.

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