6/30/2006

On Northampton Street...

Just a block away from Artspace on Northampton Street, check it out...


Both of these homes sit side by side at the corners of Northampton and Holland Place. 82 Northampton on the left is assessed at 45K and 94 Northampton is listed as a three-family house, valued at 8K!!! It's been boarded ever since I can remember. A quick search against Buffalo Housing Court records show no violations against the property.

Other residential properties I've profiled in the immediate neighborhood can be found here and recently here.

Come on over and take a look...or e-mail me fixbuffalo@gmail.com to arrange for a neighborhood tour. Price? A slice of brick oven pizza at the Delta Sonic Cafe!
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Google, Web 2.0 and the East Side...

Cool new google mapping tool via QuickMaps! I'll be up-dating some of the oldermaps on FixBuffalo that have fallen off the radar as victim of google's tos. Make sure to click the satellite button! Cool views...


I've also been using a few other web 2.0 products and tools recently. Zohowriter - for posting, NumSum and EditGrid for "social spreadsheets." Arvind, the tech wizard behind Zoho, is expeditious with service. He's located in Chennai, formerly Madras, and often seems like he's right next door! EditGrid is handling the spreadsheet I created, right here, cataloging the 1499 properties the City of Buffalo flipped. I'm using NumSum to handle the spreadsheet keeping track of the 74 properties along the East Ferry St. corridor from Main to Jefferson, right here.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg? Vacant Houses, Broken Promises

Please Eva, Secure the Site

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Yesterday afternoon I e-mailed Eva Hassett, Exec. VP at Savarino. I shared my concerns regarding the un-secured construction site that Savarino Construction is developing for Artspace behind 1219 Main Street, right next to the current Post Office at the corner of Main and Northampton. The gates have been left wide open and as you can see the holes that that have been created for what appears to be some sort of environmental remediation present an invitation for neighborhood kids.
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Eva Hassett assured me, in an e-mail that this danegerous situation would be fixed.
update 7/1/06 6:30pm
construction gate is now properly secured and locked...thanks!

Twenty-four hours later, it hasn't. These pictures were all taken around 6:30pm today, Friday June 30th. No one was present at the site. Neighbors are concerned as they are forced to walk in the street around the construction fencing that's currently blocking the sidewalk on Northampton. Keep in mind that Northampton is about the most travelled side street in Midtown by drivers and pedestrians as the 14209 Post Office is 100 feet away at the corner. Lots of neighborhood residents walk to the Delta Sonic Deli store, too!
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It's a long holiday weekend. I'm sure construction crews won't be returning 'till Wednesday morning. I guess we'll wait and see if a totally preventable accident occurs over the long weekend. I know, if this sort of project was happening on Elmwood Avenue, the site would be secured.
And so it goes...welcome to the East Side!

btw...remember this from last summer, over on Jefferson Avenue!
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
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Shining the Light...

Planned or otherwise seems like the spot light that Belmont Shelter just installed on the back corner of their "bunker" was intended to illuminate the new American flag and pole. Peddling home the other night from seeing Flipped at the Market Arcade, I noticed that the "spot light"- upper right hand corner of pic - illumintates the peeling paint on the side of the Ward House, right next door.
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David Steele did a great job over at BRO, right here shining additional light on the Ward House with a great follow-up. Click that link and follow the comments. Compare his pic with this map from c. 1894.

I think this is a first for Buffalo. I mean shouldn't the flag pole go in front of the building?

Read more about Belmont's plans for the neighborhood!
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

6/29/2006

Flipping Property...Buffalo Style

While Mark Odien and Michele Johnson are bringing Flipped to a movie theatre near you, one of the largest flippers of abandoned, derelict and vacant property is the City of Buffalo. In 2003 the City of Buffalo sold tax liens to MBBA, which is part of the New York State Housing Finance Agency. And while MBBA has JER Services manage the tax liens, 100's of houses sit derelict in Buffalo, NY. Read more about this debacle here from, PUSH Buffalo.

I've placed the full inventory of these 1500 properties on a "social spreadsheet" that you can view, search and share as you would any other website.
City of Buffalo - Flips 1500 Properties
(may take 10-15 seconds to load)
Veteran Buffalo, NY housing activist Dick Kern recently e-mailed me:
The recent discussion of "shaming" individual owners of derelict properties did not address the difficulty learning WHO owns the property, especially if a government agency is involved.

Recently PUSH Buffalo exposed the fact that the City several years ago 'flipped' about 1,500 tax foreclosed properties to NYS-MBBA & its agent JER.

Incredibly, there is no public information about where those 1,499 properties are, because they are all still listed on the City web site under the names of the foreclosed owners, who no longer have any control over the properties...depressing reading about 100's of worthless properties, 80% of which need demolition according to PUSH leader Eric Walker, especially in the Fillmore District.
Interesting, I saw Flipped the other night at the Market Arcade. While chatting with people in the lobby after the movie someone pointed out that Stephen Banko, aka HUD in Buffalo, was leaving a different show. Coincidence? I learned that HUD is featured prominently in Mark and Michele's movie and as they make clear at the end of the movie, HUD would not return calls or answer questions that were raised during the movie's production. Too bad that in yesterday's Buffalo News the same Stephen Banko has more to say about the war in Iraq than the battles perpetrated by the federal agency he represents - HUD - on the streets of Buffalo, NY. Shame Stephen, HUD is sadly predictable. Stop running for cover and answer Mark's questions about HUD's role in flipping Buffalo's inner City property. Certainly there is nothing to hide, is there?

I'd pay to see the interview, especially if Dick Kern was sitting down with Mark Odien across the table from Mr. HUD.

Michele, consider a sequel. Screwed, could easily star our Council President and someone from HUD.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Please E-mail me...

Will the Ebay flipper using the following "IP" please e-mail me.


Visitor Information: ool-43543a53.dyn.optonline.net (OPTIMUM ONLINE (CABLEVISION SYSTEMS)) [Label Visitor]
Location: SPRING VALLEY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (OPTONLINE.NET)
Last Visit Time: June 30, 2006 3:36:01 AM Length of this Visit: 0 hours and 0 minutes
Page Viewed This Visit: 1 Returning Visits: 173
Entry Page: http://www.fixbuffalo.blogspot.com/
Exit Page: http://www.fixbuffalo.blogspot.com/
Referrer: No referrer

See, the person you flipped 22 Waverly to can not be reached (was he a fiction?) and the people who had previously lived in the property for 35 years would like to get the property back. If the guilt is driving you nuts, perhaps you will consider helping out and doing the right thing. The house is around the corner from my home and we still have some time to avoid an unnecessary demolition. Just might score you some bonus points in Buffalo's Housing Court.

Let me know... fixbuffalo@gmail.com
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg? Vacant Houses, Broken Promises

6/28/2006

Jefferson Marketplace

Just down the street from the new Merriweather Library and across the street from the suburban style Tops on Jefferson Avenue is the first new build that incorporates some excellent urban design. The new Jefferson Marketplace is scheduled to open later this summer.
DSCN3438
click to enlarge
It's a unique opportunity to jump start small business here on the City's East Side. Rev. Stenhouse from Bethel AME and the Jeremiah Partnership along with über good guy Michael Clarke from LISC are two of the prime movers for this project.
DSCN3439 DSCN3440
click to enlarge
Come on over and check it out. Visit the Merriweather Library at the same time.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Finishing Touches...

Last August I spotted a construction crane here in the neighborhood at the site of the newly expanded Church of God in Christ on Woodlawn Avenue near Jefferson. Check this out for construction progress.

Well this congregation has come along way. The new sign is in place, corner stone is installed and the finishing touches on the church's new entrance are about complete.
DSCN3507
What a difference a year makes. I've planned a longer post about the 10 churches in this 25 block neighborhood Main/Jefferson - Ferry/Utica, that I'm still preparing. If you are a Minister or a member of one of these churches please get in touch, I'd like to talk with you about some neighborhood issues.

The most influential minister in the neighborhood, Rev. Richard Stenhouse, from the Bethel AME Church, Michigan & Ferry, is also on Buffalo's Control Board. In March, the following article appeared in the Buffalo News about Rev. Stenhouse - Getting it Done in Masten! Rev. Stenhouse has also planned a new set of row houses for Michigan Ave across the street from the new tennis courts (YES) and the church's Michigan Avenue entrance. Personally, I think the design should be alligned with the other row houses here in Masten and incorporate a Mansard roof instead of the pitched roof that's planned.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Street Work in the 'Hood...

While walking around the future home of Performing Arts High School with über planner Stevan Stipanovich the other evening, we noticed the tell-tale signs of street resurfacing. And presto, two weeks later, in my neighborhood, Main/Jefferson - Ferry/Utica, two streets were just stripped and readied for refsurfacing. I spoke to a few neighbors and we couldn't remember when the side streets here had received so much attention. On the left is a shot of Welker Street looking south from Woodlawn and on the right is Verplank Street looking south from Woodlawn. Both streets from Ferry to Utica will be completed by the end of the week.
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Two major streets in the neighborhood, Masten and Michigan Avenues, were resurfaced last summer and turned into two-way streets. New ADA compliant cross walks, traffic lights and timed crossing lights, too.

Is this sort of resurfacing happening all over the City?
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

6/26/2006

Waldemar Kaminski

Last week we heard about the death of Waldemar Kaminski. The Buffalo News story shared a few parts of this man's remarkable life with readers. I also spotted this in the paper...
THANK YOU WALDEMAR: Just when Buffalo seems down and out, bereft of friends and losing population, the life of Waldemar Kaminski emerges on the front page. A humble butcher, he lived modestly over his East Side store. But he had a secret, he was a wizard behind that curtain of quiet who invested successfully in the stock market and gave his money away. A few who knew of his generosity came forward after his death Wednesday, detailing the millions of dollars he gave to help children with cancer, the poor, the disabled and the orphaned. This is Buffalo, a city with heart, with strong values borne of hard work. We know there are other WaldemarKaminskis in our city, because this place is filled with good people, caring people.
Donn Esmonde said it best in this column over the weekend.
It was the best story I could never write.

Four years ago, the elderly owner of a small deli/grocery on the East Side was beaten and robbed. Female thieves bashed Waldemar "Walt"Kaminski's head with a can of V-8 juice from the grocery shelf and made off with cartons of cigarettes. It was not the first time he had been attacked.

I visited the deli soon after. I met a tough, stubborn piece of the past who stayed in the old neighborhood even as it changed around him. He stood bent, but not broken, dre ssed in a flannel shirt and wearing a blue cap. Behind thick glasses, his eyes were alive.

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I wish I had taken the time years ago to meet Mr. Kaminski. Today I stopped by his store. While the neighborhood is literally falling down around 1315 Broadway and while taking these photos, one neighborhood resident that I spoke to shared with me, "like, the man gave away food man..." This morning Kaminski's store still radiated an old world charm. Someone had just placed these lillies over the store's entrance.
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A Lexis-Nexis search revealed that Mr. Kaminski had been robbed and beaten numerous times...
  • March 26, 2003 A Gittere Street woman was arrested Tuesday in connection with the Sept. 21 robbery of an elderly convenience store owner on Broadway. Vokira U. Small, 19, was charged with first-degree robbery. She is accused of attacking Waldemar Kaminski, 85, in his Kaminski Foods store at 1315 Broadway. Police said Small and two other women beat Kaminski in the face with several cans before making off with several packs of cigarettes. It was the eighth time the store had been robbed in two years. Kaminski suffered severe scalp lacerations as well as bruising and swelling around his eyes, head and face.
  • May 20, 2002 -- A 19-year-old man arrested Sunday a block from Kaminski's Deli on Broadway shortly after it was robbed of $30 at gunpoint. Owner Waldemar Kaminski, 84, said a man entered the deli, asked for a turkey and baloney sandwich, then pointed a gun at him and demanded, "Give me the money." Police said Carl Funderburk of Ashley Street allegedly left the store with about $30 and was stopped at Broadway and Milburn Street. The young man carrying a BB pistol and crack cocaine in his jacket pockets, was charged with felony robbery, felony use of a firearm, possession of stolen property and illegal drugs.
Sort of makes you wonder if a program like ChicagoCrimes.org, that I've been linking to on the left hand side of this blog for the past year, might be a good addition to the citi-stat program Byron's been promoting.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Reconnecting Buffalo

Despite the persistant abandonment, decline, vacancy and population loss, there is tons of evidence in Buffalo regarding the reconstruction of the urban scene, the likes of which we haven't seen in years, perhaps decades. (In my corner of Masten - count it - $5 million for the Merriwether Library, $15 million for Artspace and $30 million for the reconstruction of a permanent home for Performing Arts High School.) Perhaps just as ambitous as flattening the skyway and bringing that mistake back to grade level, it's time to plan on reconnecting the neighborhoods and streets that were separated by the 33.

Chicago based architect, David Steele, has an excellent and thought provoking post over at BRO, that's worth checking out about re-connecting the street pattern that made Buffalo such a unique City. Here's the link.
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On the right hand side, just behind the hospital lies the former German Catholic Roman Orphan Home. It's that complex with the smoke-stack. And it's the first stop on the Tour de Neglect that I'm leading on July 9th in collaboration with the Preservation Coaltion. We meet on Main Street near Coe Place. If you haven't experienced the scar that David Steele writes about as a pedestrian or cyclist, consider joining us on Sunday July 9th.

Make sure to check out the growing list of comments in David's post Pay particular attention to "Doktor K" and "L"..."L's" critique of the urban landscape is simultaneously realistic and quite visionary.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Performing Arts - Reconsruction

snipshot_9vbkkjqsb
I'll be chronicling the progress of the Performing Arts High School reconstruction here in Reconstruction Archives.

Make sure to visit the following:
Students, parents, teachers and neighbors were informed on June 14, 2006 that ground breaking would take place on June 26th! It did!

Here's the first of many photographs that will regularly document the reconstruction and progress of Performing Arts High School's permanent home. I also hope to do a series of interviews with School Board Members, LPCiminelli and CannonDesign people involved in the project. I'll also seek out teachers, parents, students and various people from the alumni community and present their comments regarding the significance of this project.

June 26, 2006 - Day 1

When I returned home this evening I walked aroung the site and took these photos...
Excavation on the north (Ferry Street side)
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Marking off of new Art Wing and Science Wing on West side (Michigan Avenue)DSCN3495.jpg DSCN3496.jpg
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

6/25/2006

7/day...1 Every 3 Hours...

I just read the Wharton Study featured in the Buffalo News story by Jay Rey. Here it is, if you missed it. Seven people/day...one every 3 hours...leaving Buffalo, NY...

A few points made my Peter Linneman and Albert Saiz of The Wharton School just leap off the page....
  • ...the best way to predict a county's population growth is to look at how much it grew in the past decade. (p.5)
  • The age distribution of the population in another predictor of future growth, that is, very young and very old populations tend to grow more slowly. (p. 7)
  • A high degree of taxation may make a county less attractive to taxpayers and entrepreneurs. (p.8)
  • If we run our analysis with politics as the only variable, we find that Republican dominated counties (based upon presidential and senatorial data from the early 1980's) do tend to grow faster. (p.8)
  • Briefly put, Americans are rapidly leaving cold, damp and snowy areas for sunnier and drier climates. (p. 9)
  • Since declining cities such as New Orleans, Detroit and Buffalo have massive and valuable housing stocks, reduced housing demand translated into lower housing prices, and made these cities a bit less unattractive. (p. 9)
While "white flight" no longer seems to be a demographic force in Buffalo, the hollowing out of the urban core and the progressively larger "urban prairie" shows how the points made by Linneman and Saiz are impacting Buffalo, NY. And then there's the related story in the study about 12 of the top 50 counties in the nation, that are projected to lose the most population by 2020, are right here in New York State. "Blue" counties, too!

Here's that list (p.12). Herkimer, Cayuga, Chatauqua, Erie, Schoharie, Livingston, Chemung, Niagara, Wayne, Onondaga, Genesee and Broome. (New York State Counties Red v. Blue via CNN) These "red" counties have smaller populations, are mostly rural and lack significant population centers.

If anyone has the numbers on people leaving New York State...let me know.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Coe Place c. 1894

Check out what Coe Place was like back in the day...circa 1894!

Coe Place - Buffalo, NY c.1894
click to enlarge

Thanks to doktork, (no relation) a commenter at BRO for the link...1894 Maps of Buffalo. Look, "The Belmont Bunker" is missing from the map!
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

6/24/2006

Along Dodge Street...

I learned a few things at the recent Coe Place Block Club meeting last Thursday evening about two houses on Dodge Street, right around the corner from Belmont Shelter. While Coe Place residents are struggling to maintain the integrity of their very unique street, we got this going on around the corner.

90 Dodge Street was the scene of recent devestating fire. Please join area residents who are calling for the immediate demolition of this fire ravaged house. Call Ellicott Council Member Brian Davis and help get this property inspected and into Judge Nowak's Housing Court. Brian Davis can be reached at 851-4200.
90 Dodge Street
90 Dodge Street - 6/2006
click to enlarge
97 Dodge Street is owned by the City of Buffalo. It appears to be in excellent structural condition. New roof and the foundation appears solid, too! If you are interested in re-habing this totally unique home, please let me know. We will do our best to walk you through the steps and help put this property into qualifed hands.
97 Dodge Street
97 Dodge  Street - 6/2006
click to enlarge
97 Dodge is less than 100' feet away from this intersection at Michigan Avenue. Rocco Termini, who was called out this past week in a story about predatory lending on Buffalo's East Side, built these two houses and is completing another 24 homes just like this in conjunction with Belmont Shelter. Read about Rocco!
Michigan Avenue & Dodge Streets
1201 Michigan Ave - 6/2006
click to enlarge
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Merriweather Library - Is Now Open...

While checking out some recent developments on Jefferson Avenue the other day, I noticed this sign..."The Library is NowOpen"
The Library is Open...
The construction fence would suggest otherwise...
I visited our new library opening day, April 1st. Here's that recent links about the Merrieweather Library. If you are new to FixBuffalo you should check out this related post about St. Vincents, a few blocks away.
Five million for a new library...how 'bout some volunteers to take down the fence!
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

6/22/2006

RUN Buffalo

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This looks interesting. Let me know what you think and if you or any organizations you work with have partnered with RUN Buffalo. My ear is pretty low to the ground and haven't heard anything about RUN Buffalo, yet...
RUN Buffalo (Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods, Inc.) is a volunteer driven, non-profit organization formed to combat urban blight and decay. Our goal is the removal of severely neglected, vacant and abandoned housing within the City of Buffalo.

Thank you for visiting our web site. Take a look around and please consider supporting our efforts to clean up city streets and contribute to economic renewel in the City of Buffalo.
Dick Kern sent this in, from somewhere in Minnesota...
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Our Shrinking City...

I've been fascinated with the politics of decline. A few of my readers tell me privately that the City of Buffalo is still in denial and should start "land-banking" and managing the econominc decline of Buffalo, NY in more rational ways.

My own block used to have twenty houses on it 10 years ago. Now there are 14. Three years ago, 10 of them were occupied. Two years ago, seven and today just four of the fourteen are really occupied. (One, is boarded, but there are people living there.) I'm equally fascinated by the fact that many people I meet on Elmwood at the Cafes, seem to confuse the Elmwood buzz and cool pulse, with Buffalo. Let's think Black Rock, Seneca Street and the geographically largest portion of Buffalo, the East Side. I love the buzz and pulse of Elmwood like the next person yet...seems to be increasingly like the deck of the Titanic...

What to do? This past week's Buffalo News story - Population Drain from WNY is Speading Up - about Buffalo, NY's population loss hit home in a big way. I'm tempted to have one of my geek friends design a java-based reverse counter that I could place on this blog - since your last visit 14 people have left Buffalo - ...showing how many people are leaving Buffalo every day. Doing the math from the article, I quickly calculated that 7 people/day are leaving the Queen City.
In fact, the estimates are on target with arecent study by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania,which projected the population in Buffalo Niagara region would drop bymore than 65,000 people between 2000 and 2020.
Jay Rey, the Buffalo News reporter, just e-mailed me the study he mentioned in the article. Here's the link (.pdf file) to a study conducted by Peter Linneman and Albert Saiz of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvannia. The first 15 pages carry the arguement about Buffalo's population loss. The table on page 12 is a killer. Here, there are four other up-state New York counties that will experience more population loss in the next 14 years than Buffalo, NY.

I started this thread over at Cyburbia, looking for some analysis of this study.

Remember Jay Rey's other story The Incredible Shrinking City - January 2, 2005
This one hits home the hardest: Our brain drain. We watch as our friends and sons and daughters -- the region's future, our smartest and brightest, our growth potential -- move away for better opportunities in other parts of the country. What's left is a region aging in place and growing old fast. This region has one of the highest percentages of senior citizens in the nation, up there with retirement meccas like Sarasota and West Palm Beach.
As I recall that article in the Buffalo News spawned RevitalizeBuffalo. Haven't heard much from them recently. The first link on their blog roll goes to former UB professor Alex Halavais, who bounced to NYC a few months ago. Alex (the former Dean of the Buffalo Blogosphere) considers his time in Buffalo to have been a mistake. Read it right here! And UB's School of Informatics is sub-standard. See the 40 comments in that post. RevitalizeBuffalo does have a nice piece about Anderson Cooper and the Atkins Diet. Oh well...Jenn does a great job with this UB program's post-mortem, too.

btw...The beacon of civility, Ithaca NY in Tompkins County, is saved. Thank god. But 12 of New York State's other counties make the list of 50 counties across the nation that will experience the largest population loss.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

Saving Coe Place - Part II

Mark your calendar for July 20th...Public Hearing on the Hamilton Ward House. Time/place tba...

Rather contentious Preservation Board meeting this afternoon. Many board members were rather upset with Belmont Shelter's position regarding the "highest and best use" of the Ward House as landfill especially when a local architect, who just purchased three houses on Coe Place - and btw, has a great reputation with two recent rehabs in Allentown - took the floor. If need be, he's prepared to go forward with the Ward House, too! If there are any other qualified individuals willing to invest in this Coe Place property, please let me know.

John Laping, Preservation Board President, wisely called for a Public Hearing. Lou Petrucci, Byron Brown's top Housing Official, informed the board. "Clearly, Coe Place is now on the local radar screen..." This is a good thing...as decisions impacting Midtown neighborhoods will be under closer scrutiny.

How ironic. Local architect and moi, take the metro to Summer Street Station and attend our first Coe Place Block Club Meeting - yes at Belmont Shelter. Chris Hawley's Midtown: Poised for Renaissance was being waved around and after introducing myself to a number of Coe Place residents, I volunteered Chris - an Ellicott Street resident had already wanted to invite Tim Tielman - to present various aspects of his planning document at the next Coe Place Block Club Meeting.

Residents echoed our sentiment that the "highest and best use" of the Ward House is re-hab. Yet walking past the house this afternoon, seems like Belmont is cleaning the lot and readying the place for demo...

And by all means, venture over to Coe Place and walk the neighborhood. Brick-oven pizza awaits those who venture into the Delta Sonic Cafe!

Stay tuned...

btw....yes, I'm still collecting letters of support, from ex-pats reading this blog in Charlotte, and keep the pressure on. Write and call Belmont board members, see Part I ....(send copies to me....)
__________________________________________________________________________
Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006

6/20/2006

Saving Coe Place - Part I

Now is the time to help lend a hand to help save and preserve a very unique part of Midtown and Buffalo's near East Side. It's a classic.

In October, at the City of Buffalo Property Tax Auction, Belmont Shelter, a 501(c)3, purchased 19 Coe Place. Research indicates that 19 Coe Place is eligible for historic preservation. It is now properly called, the Hamilton Ward House. Chris Hawley has completed extensive research about the property and is also the primary author of a City planning document - Midtown: Poised for Renaissance. He presents a clear and compelling case for the need to preserve the existing homes on Coe Place, including the Hamilton Ward House. Chris writes:

Coe Place is the most historically and urbanistically significant street in the Midtown neighborhood. At one time a brick pedestrian pathway, converted to a residential street by a quixotic nineteenth-century skating rink operator, Coe Place is a charming, very narrow street, originally no more than fifteen feet wide, lined with a collection of close-knit Queen Anne-style houses whose singular attributes are unmatched anywhere else in Buffalo. Read the rest...
Coe Place has the potential to be one of the first streets east on Main to be rediscovered and restored by middle income owner-occupants. Its intimate charm derives from its modest, Queen Anne and vernacular frame houses on small lots on a gentle hill, built right up to the right-of-way, a sociable urban design reminiscent of the slopes, cottages, and narrow lanes of the Chautauqua Institution. Expanding existing parking lots, which offer no amenity to the neighborhood, would undermine the fledgling residential redevelopment. - Cynthia Van Ness
Unfortunately the current owner, Belmont Shelter - Buffalo's progressive housing agency and future property manager of Artspace - would like to demolish the Hamilton Ward House and turn the property into a parking lot.
On this Thursday's (6/22/06) Preservation Board agenda:

Application to Demolish: 19 Coe Place: Owner (Belmont Shelter)
proposes to demolish to grade a 2.5 story frame dwelling, grade/seed lot

Hamilton Ward House - 19 Coe Place Hamilton Ward House - 19 Coe Place Hamilton Ward House - 19 Coe Place 'Hamilton Ward House' - 19 Coe Place - Buffalo, NY
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I've been living on Coe Place for more than two years now. This is a neighborhood, a community. We know each other here by name and by habits. We speak to each other directly, both in agreement and in dispute. I can not work in the yard without having a series of friendly conversations with neighbors and passers by. Coe Place has that connection and feeling that is one key goal of living in modern built space. At the same time, Coe Place has the sweet flavor of Buffalo's history. What we have here is rare, precious- something that can not be recreated. We need to do more than preserve a few tattered shreds. We all need this place, and other places like it, as living examples of what is possible. - Roy Cunningham
Belmont Shelter's most recent tax return, aka a 990 financial report, filed on November 21, 2005 is available, right here. It's 20 pages long (.pdf file) and full of very interesting information. Page 4 lists the following individuals as Officers, Directors, Trustess and Key Employees.
  • Elizabeth Huckabone - 96 Doncaster Kenmore, NY 14217 - President
  • Jeffery Nowacki - 4633 Deerfield Road Hamburg, NY 14053
  • Bruce C. Baird - 331 Lincoln Parkway Buffalo, NY 14216
  • Mike D. Riegel - 178 Schimwood Court Getzville, NY 14068 - Treasurer/Exec. VP
  • Kathy 0'Brien - 80 Lein Road West Seneca, NY 14224 - Vice President/Director
  • Rodney Richardson - 688 Crescent Avenue Buffalo, NY 14216
  • Glendora Johnson - 1195 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14209
  • Evelyn Pizzaro - 97 Ava Lane Williamsville, NY 14221
  • Christopher Jacobs - 1195 Main Street, Buffalo NY 14209 (Chris is New York State's Secretary of State)
Belmont Shelter is also interested in buying three additional vacant lots on Coe Place 17, 21 and 27 Coe Place. One must assume that sodium vapor lights will be added to an ever increasingly larger parking lot. Council Member Brian Davis - for Coe Place - heads the City's finance committee. We have just learned that the recommendation from Chief City Planner Tim Wannamaker, clearing the way for the purchase of these three vacant lots, will be tabled at Tuesday's (6/20/06) finance committee meeting.
Vacant Lots = Parking Lots
21 Coe Place - Buffalo, NY 17 Coe Place - Buffalo, NY 27 Coe Place - Buffalo, NY
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Residents of Coe Place are in complete agreement and oppose the expansion of the Belmont Shelter parking lot, the purchase of three additional vacant lots by Belmont Shelter and they are also against the demolition of the Hamilton Ward House.
Coe Place - buffalo, ny
A number of private investors have approached me and asked if the Hamilton Ward House is for sale. At least one local business man, with an impressive track record of renovation in Buffalo has been thwarted every step of the way in his attempts to negotiate, save and rehab the Hamilton Ward House. A local architect, who is beginning the rehab of three Coe Place properties and also has an impressive track record in the rehabilitation of historic Buffalo homes, fails to see the City's logic, along with the rest of us, in not marketing the vacant property and the Hamiltion Ward House to residents and owners interested in preserving the unique character of Coe Place.
So, please take a moment to write the Preservation Board prior to Thursday's meeting ( or e-mail your letters to me) and express your desire to keep the unique character of Coe Place intact. Please call your Council person (851-4200). Sending a letter to Belmont Shelter Board Members - above - would be a significant contribution in preserving Buffalo's unique architectural heritage and dynamic urban character. If you know any of these board members personally, please make the phone call.

Belmont Shelter - 884-7791
developing - Check back soon for petition campaign!
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6/18/2006

Artspace Ground Breaking...

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At some point this past week the big machinery moved in and broke ground - Artspace has arrived! This represents a 15 million dollar investment in Midtown and has already stimulated residential real estate sales and interest in the surrounding impact area. Nothing yet in the Buffalo News or local blogosphere. Here's what I found on the Savarino website. Maybe we'll get a webcam...
Artspace  - Buffalo, NY - 6/2006 Artspace  - Buffalo, NY - 6/2006
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I've been following this story since December 2004 and will be posting regular monthly photo updates over here in the Artspace Archive. When you click in to the Artspace Archive you'll also find detailed planning documents that outline some of the commercial and residential investment opportunities that exist here in Midtown and on the City's near East Side. See especially:
Check back regularly for updates or subscribe over on the right via Feedblitz.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq

New York State Bloggers...& Fix Buffalo!

Local Buffalo, NY film maker John Paget blogs. I met John at the Cafe late last year and travelled to Rochester recently to attend a lecture by James Kunstler. He's got a great eye for what's working and not working in Buffalo. Make sure to check out PagetFilms.com, too!

The People's Guide to Rochester has been sending traffic my way from here. And another Rochester site, Industrialsomething.org, is waving the FixBuffalo flag in this post called Fix Rochester...

So, a bunch of us here in Rochester have been doing our part to bring some joie de vivre to the city as a being. Not just front-page giant-project ‘Revitalization‘ but more. We want that Grass-Roots “We Give A Shit Thank You” attitude that means people are going to get phone calls, bitching will be done, and new creative solutions will come about by people doing things, rather than waiting on some government office, planning committee, or development corp. to do it.

Things like Ant Hill Cooperative, and RocWiki, and Toxic Rochester are a start, but I always get jealous of our wacky western neighbor Buffalo, because they have things like Fix Buffalo, and Buffalo Rising. There is not much to envy about the situation the City of Buffalo is in, but envy their attitude, an attiude that Rochester is slowly starting to catch.

An Albany, NY Deacon in the Polish National Catholic Church has a blog, Deacon's Blog. He's been following some of the stories I've written about Bishop Kmiec's Journey to Avoid Housing Court. I've been getting dozens of hits these two posts he's written. Is it Something about Transfiguration and R.C. Diocese Restructuring.

Like Buffalo, and so many other R.C. Diocese in the United States, Albany is engaging in the businesslike process of evaluating assets and liabilities, cash flow, and infrastructure in light of its overall business model and customer base. Read the rest...

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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006faq

Performing Arts HS - Construction Update

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On Tuesday evening the Parents Association for Performing Arts High School hosted an orientation and Q&A with LP Ciminelli and Cannon Design. The two hour program was incredibly well attended with 200 parents, students and about 15 teachers from Performing Arts. It was a great opportunity for students and parents to learn more about the project. I was impressed with the level of dedication and commitment by so many teachers who were present on Tuesday evening, despite the current labor issues.

This project is billed as the crowning jewell of the One Billion Dollar Joint Schools Reconstruction Project. Nothing in the local blogosphere about the single largest construction project to hit Buffalo, NY since the Erie Canal!

Ground breaking is set for June 26, 2006!
bavpa
The trees in the third drawing represent plantings along Ferry Street.
bavpa bavpa bavpa bavpa
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Frequent readers of Fix Buffalo will remember that the Woodlawn Row Houses - City owned abandoned, boarded, derelict and a Historic Land Mark - sit 125 feet away from the school's front door. I've been posting photographs of the demolition by neglect of this City of Buffalo owned property for the past 27 months. So, you can expect regular construction updates for Performing Arts, too. Right here - BAVPA.

After the meeting recent Buffalo State College urban planning graduate Stevan Stipanovich and City of Buffalo architect Paul McDonald and I had the opportunity to survey the street scene from Main/Ferry to Jefferson Avenue. I've created two related data bases to help us identify a number of properties that need to be brought into code compliance. The first data base - Along Ferry Street - will soon have photographs associated with each of the 74 properties from Main to Jefferson. The second data base - Cold Springs' Dirty Dozen - will soon provide a direct link to ownership/photos and Housing Court Records for the properties that need to be demolished in a two block area around the future home of Performing Arts. Here parents, neighbors and activists all around Buffalo will see what has to be done in order to help make this project a real success .

Nothing yet on the Cannon Design website for the project. Ditto, LP Ciminelli.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row HousesTour dé Neglect - 2006