I thought you guys might be interested in knowing about this.
On Wednesday, October 17th, over 100 West Side residents and concerned members of the surrounding communities rallied to the cry of Aaron Bartley, executive director of PUSH Buffalo, (People United for Sustainable Housing) a non-profit organization based on the West Side that promotes neighborhood development and community organization from the ground up. A march began at the corner of Niagara and Maryland and ended at a rally on the steps of City Hall. The rally was necessary, as Mayor Byron Brown has refused to meet with PUSH, or any West Side neighborhood organization to hear their recommendations for revitalizations. After many months of planning and a Neighborhood Summit meeting on Saturday, October 13th where over 200 concerned residents were in attendance, a concise six-point revitalization platform was drafted and delivered to the mayor’s office. The mayor was not available to meet, but a phone number was given, 851-4841. This phone number may be used by any one wishing to urge the Mayor to meet with PUSH to discuss and take seriously the voices and wisdom of the city residents.
West Side Revitalization Platform
In order to save our neighborhoods and reduce Buffalo’s poverty rate, we seek a strong commitment to the following principles from the Mayor and other public and private officials:
¥ The City and the State should work with community-based partners to develop an integrated approach to community reinvestment, including rehabilitation, deconstruction, demolition, greenspace management, landbanking and weatherization.
¥ The City, the State and its public and private partners should rehabilitate at least 20 homes on the West Side in 2008. This number should increase by 10 in each successive year. (Citywide Goal: 100 rehabilitated houses per year.)
¥ The City, the State and its public and private partners should assist at least 100 low to moderate-income residents in becoming homeowners on the West Side in 2008. (Citywide Goal: 400 low to moderate-income homeowners per year.)
¥ The City should work with community-based partners to gain input on which abandoned properities need immediate demolition or deconstruction and begin the formation of a property information database. The 20 worst properties on the West Side should be demolished or deconstructed immediately.
¥ Contractors on publicly funded revitalization projects citywide should hire and train low-income residents for at least 40% of construction jobs. This requirement should be built into RFPs for neighborhood-based revitalization projects.
¥ The City, the State and its public and private partners should commit to weatherizing at least 200 homes on the West Side in 2008. (Citywide Goal: 800 weatherized homes per year.)
Channel 4 News was present. Artvoice was there, with a video camera, so I’m fairly certian some streaming video content should be forthcoming from their website. The Buffalo News covered the march with one picture and one sentance, which can be found in today’s paper (Tuesday, October 18th, 2007) on the third page of the City & Region section.