Charting a course to development

Albany

In Buffalo, city officials have created an industrial history path and kayaking pier in the shadow of the grain elevators that made it the Queen City along Lake Erie.

In Syracuse, a boardwalk-like lounge area is being built on the south shore of Onondaga Lake, once tagged as the nation’s most polluted lake.

And in distant San Antonio, the famous tourist magnet River Walk is being extended to connect with historic missions that helped establish the Texas city.

What about the Capital Region?

Two planning conferences this week center on ways that sputtering cities can use their waterfronts to jumpstart development. On Monday, Rep. Paul Tonko’s annual “Mighty Waters” conference drew a Democratic colleague from San Antonio, Rep. Joaquin Castro, who told how investments in his city’s River Walk created a tourist destination. Set one story below street level, the River Walk is a public park lined with restaurants and stores.

“It’s clear that you have a lot more to work with than we did,” Castro said. “There’s a lot of natural beauty here, and it’s much more vast than the River Walk was.”

The problem is, and has been, I-787. A bridge connects Broadway to the Jennings Landing area of Corning Preserve, ………..

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