The Fruit Belt
On April 17th, the Buffalo Common Council voted to approve Local Landmark status for 238 Carlton Street! Securing landmark status is a critical part of our continued work to avoid demolition of this 142-year-old historic Fruit Belt property. Thank you so much to Council President Darius Pridgen for his support of this landmark application and to all our members and supporters who contacted the Preservation Board and Common Council sharing their support as well. We would also like to thank Commissioner Comerford and the Dept. of Permits and Inspection Services who have been working with us and the owner to find a productive future for this building.
The Fruit Belt Cultural Resource Survey is nearing completion by project consultant Preservation Studios. Once completed, the first-ever full-scale survey of this historic neighborhood will also provide recommendations for future preservation efforts. In preparation for the completion of the survey, PBN and Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force has been awarded a Spark Grant by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. The Spark Grant will help us produce a brochure to not only highlight the information discovered during the survey, but also to encourage continued neighborhood conversations about future steps to celebrate and preserve the Fruit Belt.
Buffalo Preservation Board & Ordinance
In January, Mayor Byron Brown filled his final vacant spot on the Preservation Board with Joel Moore, Assistant Legal Counsel for the Buffalo Public Schools District. In April, longtime members Paul McDonnell and Richard Lippes both stepped down from the Board. Serving for ten years, the last six of which as Chairman, Mr. McDonnell was replaced by Catherine F. Schweitzer. Mr. Lippes, who held a spot reserved for a designee by the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, has yet to be replaced. In addition to member changes, the Preservation Ordinance itself has experienced some changes. Back in May 2017, the eligibility requirements for appointees by the Council President was simplified to just three members being chosen from the City at large. And currently, Councilmember Joel Feroleto is moving forward with efforts to change the notification requirements to property owners of pending landmark nominations. PBN continues to advocate for the adoption of the NYS Model Preservation Ordinance developed by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Preservation League of New York State. Adoption of the NYS Model Preservation Ordinance would eliminate the need for ad hoc changes and bring our ordinance up to current preservation best standards.
Lackawanna Public Library
As part of the 2018 NYS Budget, over $100 million dollars in funding has been set aside for library aid. To take advantage of this funding and with the assistance of NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan, the Lackawanna Public Library is assembling an advisory board to contribute ideas and designs for renovation of the historic building. Completed in 1922, the Lackawanna Public Library is the last Carnegie Library to be constructed with funds from the Carnegie Trustees and has been a hub of activity for the community for nearly full century. PBN is very excited to be included in this advisory committee to help plan much needed repairs and upgrades so it can continue to serve the community.
Broadway-Fillmore Historic District
The Broadway-Fillmore Historic District is headed for a vote before the Legislation Committee on May 8th and if approved, will be sent to the full Common Council on May 15th. Once approved by the Common Council, the Broadway-Fillmore Historic District will be the largest expansion of locally landmarked properties since the extension of the Linwood Historic District in 2015. But we’re not stopping with just a local historic district; following Common Council approval, we will coordinate with the Preservation Board to request certification of the district by the National Park Service, which would allow property owners within the Broadway-Fillmore Historic District to pursue historic tax credits for their rehabilitation projects.
Thanks to the advocacy of NYS Senator Tim Kennedy, a $5 million dollar grant from the Buffalo Billion program has been given to the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation. The long-anticipated purpose is to restore the historic concourse and to provide further assistance to the organization, as they work to explore and implement reconditions from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) report released in January 2018.
ROCC Green Ribbon Campaign
On May 5th, the Restore Our Community Coalition hosted a Green Ribbon campaign in the Hamlin Park neighborhood. Preceding the fifth annual Sky Ride, the most ambitious bicycling event to date, volunteers from Canisius High School adorned dozens of trees with green ribbons as a visual reminder of the trees that once lined Humboldt Parkway. Through the growing efforts of ROCC, the need to restore Humboldt Parkway came to the attention of Governor Cuomo, who in 2016 allocated $6 million to the NYS Department of Transportation for an Environmental Assessment. The study includes project planning, as well as construction estimates and renderings for a park-deck over Route 33. Cities across America are working on long-term solutions for aging expressways, which have divided and devalued affected neighborhoods. Following successful examples from such larger cities as Klyde Warren Park in Dallas and Margaret T. Hance Park in Phoenix, ROCC is making progress in its mission to reclaim fourteen acres of land for community recreational use. The original Humboldt Parkway was a boulevard spanning nearly forty linear acres between Delaware Park and Martin Luther King (formerly Humboldt Park), as an important component for the Olmsted Parks System.