BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's become quite the hot summer spot, but a PR firm has been hired to market Canalside to the tune of $300,000.
We know where the money is coming from. We also asked people if a PR firm is necessary.
"What is Canalside?" asked Channel 2's Kelly Dudzik.
"What is it? Ambience. It's a beautiful climate. You can kind of just chill out after a hard day's work," said Thomas Hall.
"Well, you know, I've lived here in this area for a long time and this is my first time seeing it. She's been telling me what it is. It's a place where they have concerts now, and I think it's delightful," said Gerri DeFrancesco.
Even on a weekday night, you will find a diverse crowd enjoying Buffalo's Canalside. No outside PR firm needed.
"Word spreads and more and more people show up each year, and it's promoted pretty much on television, as well, so I think that it's pretty good PR that's being done," says Hall.
Wednesday, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation hired Eric Mower and Associates, paying the firm around $300,000 for three years of work, to launch a branding campaign for Canalside.
"Promotion is necessary, I'm not sure about the cost," said Barbara Stepien, who visits Canalside.
"$300,000 you said? I'd do it for a lot less," says DeFrancesco.
"We need to create a destination. Very much like Disneyland has done in not only Florida, but also on the west coast. When we asked people at places like the Walden Galleria, only ten-percent of the people knew what we were," says ECHDC Chair Robert Gioia.
Gioia told us the point of hiring the PR firm is to tell everyone, not just those in Buffalo, about all of the activities you can do at Canalside, and how to get there.
"How much money will it cost and where does that money come from?" asked Dudzik.
"Well, the money comes from, we have a licensing agreement from the New York State Power Authority which was established and to the credit of Congressman Brian Higgins several years ago, so that's our money that we need to spend very cautiously," says Gioia.
Gioia says the governor asked the Development Corporation to make Canalside accessible to the entire community, which means making parking and figuring out how to get there easier.
"What we're trying to prevent is the years of when you could shoot a cannon down Main Street at 5:00. We want to create the fact so that people will be down here all day into the evening enjoying their waterfront," says Gioia.
"This should be actually in all your promos for Buffalo because this is what people look for. This kind of thing. It's lovely. I'm stunned," says DeFrancesco.
As far as that parking issue, Gioia says the parking spaces are already there. He says people just need to know where they are so they can park and walk to Canalside. He says he wants to see Canalside as successful as the waterfronts in Cleveland and Baltimore, and that's why the PR firm has been hired.