Agreement on high road economic development principles reached with ECHDCBack >
September 9, 2013
At the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation Board of Directors meeting on September 9, 2013, the board adopted a set of high road economic development principles to help guide their current and future economic development initiatives for the Buffalo Waterfront. This was a result of the years of commitment and hard work by the Canal Side Community Alliance, a broad coalition of organized labor, community based organizations, activists and faith based organizations committed to advancing smart economic development and waterfront revitalization.
The statement of principles includes provisions that will ensure quality jobs for local job seekers, a prioritization of local business, laying out a goal of 50% of the project dedicated to locally owned businesses, a commitment to environmental sustainability and innovation, in addition to a focus on community building, urban development and affordable housing. The principles also state that the ECHDC will continue to work collaboratively with representatives from the Canal Side Community Alliance (CSCA) to reach the agreed upon goals.
ECHDC’s adoption of these principles is truly an historic moment, which confirms the commitment of state and local decision makers and helps ensure that millions of economic development dollars will go toward building communities, creating quality jobs, and supporting environmental sustainability in Buffalo.
“This speaks volumes to the power of bringing the community in to conversations around economic development to ensure that public money truly does benefit the public good. With so much public investment in Buffalo, so many cranes in the air and construction happening, we are right on the cusp of a changing and stronger Buffalo, but we need measures in place that will guarantee these opportunities are opened to all communities within Buffalo, not just a select few,” said Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby, Organizing Director for the Coalition for Economic Justice, an active member of the Canal Side Community Alliance. Micaela also chaired the Canal Side Community Alliance since its creation in 2009.
Lou Jean Fleron, co-director of the Partnership for the Public Good and a member of the CSCA negotiating team said, “Buffalo’s economic future is looking brighter every day, and today ECHDC took important steps forward to assure that the exciting developments on our waterfront will be a model for expanded and equitable economic opportunity. We are grateful for their leadership in adopting these high road principles, signaling their commitment to collaboration and innovation in ways that resonate like common sense with the general public.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “The Canal Side Community Alliance should be commended for their tireless advocacy that made the ECHDC’s actions a reality yesterday. The ECHDC’s adoption of the statement of principles is great news for both businesses and workers in Buffalo, and for the continued development of our waterfront. The statement of principles adopted by ECHDC will help to protect workers and the environment, and ensure economic fairness for all. The agreement is a win for smart development, and should be a model for major projects across the city. I hope developers will take note of this important step forward.”
Duane Diggs, VOICE-Buffalo president said, “I would like to acknowledge the work of the Canal Side Community Alliance, the ECHDC board of directors, Tom Dee and the Buffalo Common Council who took a tremendous stand a few years ago and committed to leveraging the land that the city owned in order to ensure that community members were truly engaged in the decisions being made about public money benefitting the public good. VOICE-Buffalo deeply values public participation and accountability. This set of principles for the waterfront has opened the door for future public participation and has created an important layer of accountability. ”
The Canal Side Community Alliance, a coalition of labor, faith, community organizations has been working with the ECHDC since 2009 to pass a policy that would require the ECHDC to pay family sustaining wages, provide opportunities for local workers, ensure public access to the waterfront, follow environmental sustainability and innovation principles, and prioritize local and independent businesses.