The Editorial Board: State’s plan makes reviving Buffalo’s neglected East Side a necessary priority | Editorial

News Editorial Board

It is tempting to see in it the revival of the Big Bang of the East Side. Flooded with cash, the state announced carefully assessed investments totaling $164 million, a figure that does not include planned funding for Central Terminal.

This flow of money surely counts as a turning point for the East Side of the city, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. The East Side has been booming for several years with further public and private sector investment.

Nevertheless, it is great. And while there are reasons to be confident in the value of the projects, the crucial need is for that money to trigger the kind of private investment that Canalside and the Buffalo Billion have leveraged. Public money sets the table; private investment provides the meal.

The dishes are impressive: 37 million dollars for the Broadway Market; $76 million for the Northland Corridor Industrial Park and the Northland Workforce Training Center; $30 million for the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor; $15 million for East Side commercial districts; $6 million for Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

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And that’s not counting a $1 billion capital program to transform the Kensington Freeway or what is a major state investment in Central Terminal. This announcement is expected later this month.

For all of this, Buffalo and, in particular, its East Siders can thank Governor Kathy Hochul, a Buffalonian who understands the need for the entire city to benefit from its long-awaited economic recovery. As Monica Pellegrino Faix, executive director of the Central Terminal Restoration Corp., put it. “I think the most important thing…is to right the wrongs on the East Side of Buffalo, because that’s a legacy of over 50 years of economic divestment.” , redlining and racial inequality,” she said.

Work to restore the East Side began in earnest under Hochul’s predecessor, former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, who by then had a greater positive influence on Western New York than did any governor since DeWitt Clinton, the Erie Canal dreamer. .

In particular, Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion II economic development program has dedicated $155 million to the East Side. Of this amount, $90 million benefited the Northland Corridor, which converted vacant buildings into advanced manufacturing workforce training centers through the creation of the Northland Workforce Training Center and the addition of Buffalo Manufacturing Works. The remaining $65 million, which is still in the works, is helping redevelop historic properties, create walkable areas, and help new businesses and entrepreneurs, among other strategies.

It was an impressive start, but the new state program counts as a total bet that Buffalo’s revival isn’t over. These investments target projects that will make the East Side more attractive to residents, visitors and businesses. This will attract private developers, whose interest should help create a virtuous circle of improvement.

Private sector money has already strengthened the East Side, providing affordable housing, new manufacturers, offices, banks and more. If it works as hoped, new state investment will open the door to an East Side that in 10 or 20 years will be very different from the one that for years was given little thought and less hope. .

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