Amherst Local Waterfront Development Program

Town of Amherst
Amherst, NY

In 2019, the EDR Planning Division was selected to support the Town of Amherst in its development of a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for its waterfront along the Tonawanda Creek and Ellicott Creek in Erie County, NY. This waterfront is characterized by the historic Tonawanda Creek as part of the New York State Erie/Barge Canal System and the more natural Ellicott Creek, which meanders through the Amherst State Park and the southern portion of the Town.

Over the past two centuries, Amherst evolved from its original rural pattern of small village and hamlet settlements surrounded by farmland to a “bedroom” suburb of Buffalo in the mid-20th century. Amherst has undergone a fundamental transition from a growing community to one that is mature and largely built out. An important challenge addressed by this LWRP is managing the infill development occurring within the community to maintain and enhance the character, identity, and quality of life within the waterfront area.

Development of this LWRP relied on a robust engagement strategy, data analysis to frame issues and opportunities, and creative strategies that are implementable at a local level while being compatible with New York State funding opportunities. The planning process has focused on the revitalization of waterways in a way that promotes and protects public access, active transportation, scenic vistas, and natural resources.