An urban renaissance can’t leave half its population behind. Yet, that has essentially been the case in Buffalo for the past decade-plus of its reinvention and revival. And the neglect goes back much further, well into the last century. It took the shock waves of a massacre last May to bring longstanding inequities into sharp relief, spotlighting the undeniable fact that real change in East Buffalo means historic, paradigm-shaking investment.
As doctor and developer Greg Daniels stated, “The change that is necessary for any success to occur, that change needs to be tectonic.”
There’s hope. Some tremors are already being felt and Sunday’s Buffalo News Prospectus edition looks at those efforts to expand opportunities to all of the people of Buffalo.
The efforts are concentrated in several distinct sectors.
People are also reading…
Safe neighborhoods and affordable housing
More than $259 million is being invested in East Buffalo development projects and most of it is aimed at affordable housing, including apartments, townhomes and stand-alone housing. There is new construction as well as renovations of significant historic properties such as the former St. John Kanty Church school on Swinburne, which will have 42 apartments, and the former Lion Brewery on Jefferson, which will have 83, as well as an art gallery, event space and other facilities.
Area banks, working with nonprofits and developers, are a big part of this revitalization. In just two of several collaborations, M&T is supporting the Swinburne project, to be called Apartments at the Lyceum and Evans Bank is leading an innovative plan to build single-family homes on Evans Street.
It’s fitting that banks, which, decades ago, often followed exclusionary