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Tonawanda Opportunity Area

Who: The Town of Tonawanda is the project sponsor and recipient of a New York State grant provided by the New York State Department of State, which will also provide project oversight.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will provide advice on environmental remediation in the project area.

The Town is working cooperatively with the City of Tonawanda and has hired a professional consulting team lead by LaBella Associates to create the plan.

When: The work began in October 2015 and will be completed by November 2016.

Step one: Where are We and What is the Vision? (Oct 2015 - Jan 2016) - At the beginning of the project immediately review the preliminary plan findings, update the existing inventory, establish a draft vision, confirm or define the findings and through public and stakeholder meetings, determine any new issues.

Step two: How do We Get There and is it Feasible? (Dec 2015 - Feb 2016) - Following Step one, determine if the vision and preliminary concepts are viable by updating the economic, market and real estate analysis on the sites; holding an interactive public workshop for input; and establishing the feasibility of a new/modified transportation network.

Step three: Alternatives Analysis. (Feb 2016 - May 2016) - The information obtained in Step one and Step two will be compiled to develop preliminary alternative concept plans and recommendations.  These plans and recommendations will then be ranked based on their economic and financial feasibility, site development/Shovel Ready feasibility, consistency with the vision, alignment with funding opportunities, public input (March/April 2016) and other criteria established by the Steering Committee.

Step four: Sustainable Master Plan and Recommendations. (May 2016 - Fall/Winter 2016) - A final illustrative and sustainable Tonawanda Opportunity Area Master Plan complemented by recommendations that will address the key elements of the project and advance actual redevelopment of the Opportunity Area will be produced. A final public review of the plan will be held in September 2016.

Project Information

Where: The Tonawanda Opportunity Area encompasses nearly 2,400 acres of active businesses, underutilized properties, and environmentally compromised land in need of revitalization.  The area is roughly bounded by the Niagara River, Two Mile Creek Road, the City/Town municipal boundary, the CSX railroad, I-290, and the Dunlop facilities.

How: The project will be accomplished by the following key guiding principles:

Why: The plan will help the Town of Tonawanda reach its vision for the future:

The Tonawanda Opportunity Area will become a sustainable mixed use district with an improved image that will reconnect the community's residential areas to the Niagara Riverfront through multi-modal transportation improvements and green infrastructure to advance redevelopment of underutilized properties.

Primary objectives of the project are to restore properties to productive reuse and reconnect them to the waterfront through multi-modal transportation improvements (roadways, bike/walking trails) and landscaping upgrades. Other expected outcomes of the project include new businesses, jobs, and an enhanced tax base for the Town. As the Tonawanda Opportunity Area is located in the center of the Buffalo Niagara Metropolitan area with access to Interstates 290 and 190, it offers outstanding opportunities for commercial investment in the region.

What: The purpose of the project is to develop an area wide redevelopment plan for underutilized, vacant, abandoned, or contaminated properties that will catalyze redevelopment in the Town.  The final product will include a strategic plan that provides an implementation roadmap that results in actionable items and development projects that have synergies with the recent economic development successes.