Thursday, July 3, 2008
Junior Senator of New York and former United States 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a ceremony marking the grand opening of the Erie Canal Harbor in Buffalo, New York. This marks the first time in nearly 100 years that the inner harbor of Buffalo’s Canal waterfront has seen significant development, dedicated to tourism and the people.
“Hello Buffalo!” stated an enthusiastic Clinton to a crowd of 500 people. “It is such a privilege and joy to see this project and all that it means not only for Buffalo, but Western New York. This truly has been a labor of love. All of the people before you, plus so many others have seen this vision and have been committed to making it a reality.”
“In a few minutes [I will] walk to the center of the Whipple Truss bridge and reenact that famous ceremony that took place 183 years ago,” added Clinton. “[The original development] took so many immigrant workers and so many leaders who never ever wavered. Local economies boomed, commerce exploded and this (the Canal) became one of the greatest infrastructure achievements in the history of the world,” Clinton added.
In 1825, then state governor DeWitt Clinton dedicated the canal to the city in almost the same spot where Clinton stood. He traveled the entire route of the Canal, bringing water from each stop. In a ceremony, the water was dumped from buckets off the truss bridge, something Clinton and other politicians reenacted today. Off to her right, the Buffalo Fire Department sprayed water into the harbor from a fire fighting boat, just as it did over 100 years ago. Cannons were also fired into the air just like they were when governor Clinton celebrated building of the Canal.
“I am very proud to support the redevelopment of the Erie Canal Harbor. The progress we are celebrating today, will continue. I am as convinced as can be, that as we see progress here at the inner harbor and the outer harbor, we are going to see the revival of Buffalo continue,” said Clinton.
The project cost almost US$55 million to build, and its not over yet. A stretch of lakeside parks, trails and mixed use commercial and residential development is also planned for Buffalo’s waterfront. City mayor Byron Brown says the redevelopment will attract hundreds of millions of dollars in new projects.
Several other politicians were also present such as Senior N.Y Senator Charles Schumer, former Buffalo mayor Anthony Masiello and congressman Brian Higgins.
“By reclaiming our past, we are forging our future. The Erie Canal project is an economic shot in the arm for Buffalo and Western New York that will spur business, jobs and tourism,” stated Schumer.