A Letter to Mayor Brown RE: Downtown Amusement Park

Mayor Brown,

Hello! My name is Dan Reitz. I am writing to endorse the development of a signature amusement park at the Canalside site in Downtown Buffalo.

Before you write the idea off, consider it: A grand ferris wheel lights Buffalo’s skyline. An antique rollercoaster snakes its way around a midway while school groups take tours of the canal and naval museum. Families play mini-golf along the water while musicians play in a classic bandshell across the way. It is certainly not the kind of idea that would work anywhere, but is a slam-dunk for Buffalo.

Buffalo is a fun-loving city that lacks fun things to do. Be honest. When people here want to have a good time, where do they go? Niagara Falls. Or they do a day trip to Darien Lake or a weekend in Toronto New York. It’s obvious why this is the case. These places have fun things to do.

Downtown Buffalo doesn’t really have fun things to do, and it hurts our tourism. Tourists pass through Buffalo looking for a good time; They want to see the falls, to eat chicken wings and to go to the casinos. Tourists are not going to pull off the highway just to go shopping – there’s more than enough shopping in Niagara Falls – but they will for an antique roller coaster built along the water. They won’t plan an extra day in the region to just to see a sporting event or to pay a visit to the Naval Park, but they might plan that extra day if a ferris wheel and cotton candy were involved.

Chicago’s Navy Pier, New York’s Coney Island and Luna Park in Sydney, Australia are only three of the many examples of successful waterfront amusement parks in urban settings that could be used as models for a similar place in Buffalo. Much like these places, a Buffalo Canalside Park should be open-access, merging the atmosphere of a traditional fun fair with the history and beauty of the Canalside district.

I sincerely hope you consider this idea!

Dan Reitz

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