Members of the Canal Side Community Alliance
are pushing for a community benefits agreement, transparency and accountability at the Webster Block. Alliance representatives will hold a press conference today at 10 AM at the corner of Washington and Perry Streets to make their demands be known. A developer for the property
is expected to be named next week.
From the Alliance:
The City of Buffalo Common Council unanimously passed a resolution in March 2010 stating that it would not transfer prime waterfront land at Canal Side to the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) in the absence of a community benefit or like agreement to ensure that the public received a good return on its investment. The Webster Block was one of the parcels directly impacted by that resolution. Now that the City has decided to redevelop the Webster Block itself, it is only fair and sensible that we hold the City of Buffalo to the same standard that we asked of the ECHDC.
In short, we want to ensure that the Webster Block redevelopment, like all of the Canal Side redevelopment, adheres to certain basic high road development principles: local and minority hiring, quality job creation, opportunities for locally-owned, independent businesses, and green design and operations.
Also, we demand that the people get their money's worth! No public subsidies should be used to assist in the development of either project. Subsidy programs were not created to assist companies that can clearly afford to develop on their own. These programs are in place to encourage economic development, create quality jobs, and draw in innovation and new ideas, not subsidize poverty level jobs in hotels or shift costs for wealthy developers onto the taxpayers.
Mayor Brown has asked for public input on the Webster Block redevelopment proposals, so let's let him know! Join us and send a clear message to the Mayor and the Common Council that the "People's Block" can't be bought through backdoor deals and public subsidies. We want an open and transparent process and a project that benefits the greater good.