Demolition staging is taking place on Busti Avenue in preparation for removing multiple properties between Massachusetts and Vermont Streets. The majority of the block has already fenced off by the Public Bridge Authority including the landmarked Wilkeson house at 771 Busti.
Efforts by residents to halt the demolition have gone unheard as the organization moves forward without any public hearing on the matter. Many concerned citizens, especially in the Prospect Hill neighborhood have been writing letters of support to Mayor Brown who has been seemingly absent throughout the whole thing. Below is an example of a letter written by a concerned neighbor to Mayor Brown:
Dear Mayor Brown:
I am writing to ask your support to stand by one of your most stable neighborhoods in the city. The Prospect Hill/Columbus Park community is home to many beautiful homes, as well as a group of tightly knit neighbors. It is also home to a historic property called the Wilkeson House on Busti Avenue. Currently, its (as well as 7 other houses’) future is in imminent danger, as the Public Bridge Authority is preparing to demolish these structures in order to expand their footprint into the neighborhood with a new duty free store and parking lot. In addition to the imminent danger for these houses, the health and well being of the neighbors is at stake.
This is absolutely outrageous and I cannot believe you are not standing up for your own citizens and are allowing this rogue authority to dictate the future of the West Side.
I know for a fact that if this were the Delaware District, I would not be writing this letter because IT WOULD NOT BE HAPPENING. Why is that? People in the Delaware District are much more wealthy than the people in our neighborhood. We have plenty of low-income renters of all colors and creeds. Most likely, the people in our neighborhood don’t even know what is going on because WE HAVE NOT BEEN INFORMED!
I am asking that you and your legal department stand up for your community and fight the authority on this.
This behavior–ignoring the needs of an entire community–is frankly racist and elitist and I am appalled and embarrassed that my mayor would stoop to the level of the PBA by not responding and not taking the side of his constituents.
One issue that surrounds the whole demolition is the lack of a concrete plan for the land once it has been cleared. A new duty free building is planned for the site and this section of Busti Avenue is planned to be closed off. However, the soon to be vacant lots will be “greenspace” in the mean time and there has been no design offered for the new Duty Free. Additionally, one of the most interesting aspects is the name confusion of the organization; Peace Bridge Authority vs. Public Bridge Authority.
Each house that is owned by the Public Bridge Authority on Busti has a sign stating so, but shows ownership by the Peace Bridge Authority. Technically speaking, there is no Peace Bridge Authority, only the Public Bridge Authority. The name is a common mistake made in the Buffalo News and other publications. The PBA even does it occasionally, maybe to defer responsibility to an organization that doesn’t really exist. For additional photos of all the properties to be demolished, click here. All who would like their voice heard on this issue are encouraged to write letters of support, emails, or call City Hall at 851-4890. Below is a list of people to contact via email which seems to be the fastest way to get a response.
Mayor Brown: Mayor@city-buffalo.com
Matthew N. Davison: email@example.com
Crispell,Whitney A.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Rivera: email@example.com
Councilmember Franczyk: FMORE1@ch.ci.buffalo.ny.us
Councilmember Fontana: DH46@ch.ci.buffalo.ny.us
Councilmember Pridgen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Smith: email@example.com
Councilmember Russell: UN1@ch.ci.buffalo.ny.us
Councilmember Kearns: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember LoCurto: email@example.com
Sam Hoyt: firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Higgins: email@example.com
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo: firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Braunscheidel: email@example.com
Ron Rienas: firstname.lastname@example.org