Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Traveling man

One of the best parts about traveling is that you find out what other cities are doing with their resources. In other words, it's educational.

Let's take, for example, the city of Little Rock, Arkansas. Little Rock has a riverfront, and civic officials there obviously have put some effort into turning it into a gathering place, instead of a swamp. There are all sorts of walking and running trails, and the nearby historic district is filling up with shops and restaurants.

This amphitheater, however, is the part that caught my eye. It's obvious a nice facility, with a good-sized covered stage and some permanent seating (there are some grassy areas surrounding it as well). Looks like a nice place to spend a summer day or night, doesn't it?

Now. Wouldn't one of these look good on Buffalo's waterfront ... somewhere?

My personal choice would be LaSalle Park, which might be the most underutilized or at least underrated piece of public property in the region. It's right on Lake Erie, and there is something of a stage there now. Yes, it would take a little money to do the stage itself, with other funds needed for such elements as parking. But it could turn into a magnet for people. If the amphitheater wouldn't work at LaSalle Park, there are other spots that could work as well.

I've seen other cities with subways have stops that are physically connected to major facilities, so that no one has to be outside in the winter in order to enter. Think about that the next time you walk outside from the ugly subway stop for the First Niagara Center on a chilly night for a Sabres' game. It wouldn't take much effort to construct a new station down the street a ways.

I've also seen cities in northern locations connect buildings through tunnels and skyways. That would be a natural here, but I'm not willing to be so ambitious quite yet. We've made some fast progress in Buffalo lately, and I'm willing to borrow ideas from any source to keep the momentum going. Everyone else should be too.

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