Six Flags Needs a Theme Park on the Buffalo Waterfront
With so much land that needs to be repurposed and the city on the rise, a theme park may be the perfect addition to the Nickel City.
Buffalo on the Rise
Buffalo is a city on the rise. The population has been growing. The job market stabilizing. Opportunities abound as more and more start-ups and local businesses open their doors downtown. The waterfront, beginning with canalside, is also improving and has major plans for redevelopment. Over $200-million is being put into Canalside. It's all great news and well overdue and Buffalo has a massive waterfront that has largely gone unused for too long.
The question is: what's next?
The Bethlehem Steel Site
South of canalside is the old Bethlehem Steel site. It's a massive piece of formerly industrial land that many assume is a Superfund site. I.E. it's super polluted and too expensive to clean. That's actually not true. According to the EPA, this entire area of buffalo is NOT designated as such.
So let's assume it isn't too expensive to rehab. What do we do with it?
What Should Go There?
That land does have some businesses on it, and this is admittingly making some grand assumptions about the land's future or lack thereof. $3-million is being put into the land's redevelopment. Certainly continuing its history of industrial and blue-collar jobs wouldn't be the worst in a city that needs more jobs as it grows. The issue, however, is the long-standing complaint many Western New Yorkers have about this land: it's using up the waterfront. Land that could be used for tourism, entertainment, living space, and things that aren't an eye sore and pollution filled.
Downtown is Back
Buffalo lost out on the Bills' stadium being downtown. Some are happy about that. It doesn't change the fact that the city needs more things to attract people to it. It's already begun with the Arena District, Canalside, the Casino, the breweries, Riverworks, and the renaissance we are seeing on Elmwood and in Allentown. If you haven't been downtown in a while,e you're missing out. Gone are the days of it being a complete ghost town. While it's not bustling 24/7 there is a notable uptick in traffic both cars and people walking on the streets. There are regular festivals, markets, and pop-up events. Buffalo needs to continue this momentum as the years progress.
Six Flags Should Build a Theme Park Here
Yes, WNY already has a Six Flags in Darien Lake. It's an old park that has given us all great memories and certainly is beloved by many. Times are changing though, and it's time for something new. A waterfront theme park on the former Bethlehem Steel site would be potentially picturesque, certainly fun, encourage more development around it, be appealing to all ages, and give Buffalo something most cities don't actually have. A new, modern feature park, be it Six flags or someone else, would attract tourists from all over the Northeast and Canada. Let's not forget there are around 12 million people in Southern Ontario and while they have Canada's Wonderland, a new option is always exciting.
But Go One Step Further
On top of building a theme park here, make much of it indoors. Look we're spending someone else's money here, obviously. It's easy to dream and hard to execute. That doesn't mean it's not possible or a good idea. With our climate and weather, it only makes business sense to build something that doesn't close for half the year. While you couldn't do ALL of the park indoors, you could do a huge amount of it that way and leave it open as a resort year-round. That way you can attract tourism even in the dead of winter.
Is this a pie-in-the-sky idea? Yes. Of course it is. Nothing ever gets done though without someone dreaming up the idea though. Buffalo does, in fact, need to do more with its waterfront, and it would be good to do something that doesn't involve drinking, sports, or just music.
After all, Riverworks has already begun putting rides at their site. It makes one wonder...