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771 Busti: Landmark Status Granted by Council

The sign in the top image could easily have the word “destroyed” changed to “saved,” at least on the part of the City of Buffalo.

In a long awaited move regarding the Columbus Park – Prospect Hill neighborhood, the City of Buffalo’s Common Council voted unanimously to grant the Wilkeson House landmark status in a 9 – 0 vote.

wilkeson night.jpg

The property (left), owned by the Public Bridge Authority, is one of several that the PBA has opted to demolish in making way for a new truck plaza at the mouth of the Peace Bridge, and PBA General Manager Ron Rienas has long contended that the properties in question, including the 146-year-old mansion have no historic status.  Now the measure awaits the signature of Mayor Byron Brown in order to uphold the council vote.
In the words of preservationist Tim Tielman, Busti Avenue and the homes on and around it have always been the “front” of our city, hence the name of the adjacent land, Front Park.  As such, it has always been the first glimpse of Buffalo that visitors to the USA see.  
A resident of the Columbus Park – Prospect Hill neighborhood commented that the Peace Bridge is already in one of the most beautiful settings Buffalo has to offer, and that the denigration of this residential area for the demands of cars and trucks is unthinkable.
In addition, the need for a larger truck plaza and an upgrade in commerce is questionable, and is largely based on 20-year-old studies conducted by the PBA.  Further complicating the issue is the thought that the construction of a new bridge somehow hinges on the enlarged truck plaza, though these are two separate projects.
Many in the area, that is already seeing a disproportionate number of asthma cases as compared to other parts of the city, believe that even if traffic were to increase to levels that caused major tie-ups, the Peace Bridge area would do best to be a car-only crossing, leaving trucks to use the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge in Niagara County.
Meanwhile, it is thought that the 9 – 0 council vote will make the landmark status of 771 Busti vetoproof where the mayor is concerned.
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