Trending Buffalo has posted a letter sent out by a
local NY State law firm, which has been distributed to a number of properties within the Old First Ward. The letter essentially explains that the firm is able to represent property owners that are in jeopardy of having their houses taken away by use of eminent domain. The letter explains that the firm is able to help property owners to get the highest price for their homes, within the footprint of the imminent stadium.
Property owners that have received the letters now believe that they are going to be subjected to eminent domain to make way for a new Bills stadium, set to be built just across the street from RiverFest Park (adjacent to Buffalo River). The site in question was similar to one of the (potential) real estate diagrams outlined in an email from developer Carl Paladino (see here) sent out last year.
Buffalo Rising spoke to Old First Ward grassroots activist Peg Overdorf who exclaimed that she had heard about the letters, and felt that they were not being fair to the property owners and the community. Without further information from Pegula, or from the Stadium Committee, or The City, or anyone else for that matter, she told us that the letter was the wrong way to go about letting the community know about any possible movement by the stadium group. She also said that she spoke to Councilman Franczyk this morning about issuing a cease and desist to the law firm, for causing alarm amongst neighbors, who are not sure what to think of the letter.
When asked if she thought the letter was legit, Peg stated that, if it is, it’s the wrong spot for a stadium, due to the size of the stadium and the sprawling parking lots that would decimate the character of the neighborhood. She suggested if the Stadium Committee was set on locating to this area, that the Perry Projects, which are for the most part boarded up, would be a better location. She felt that the people still living in the projects could actually benefit from the stadium being built on the site, as there would be a big potential to improve their living conditions from what is there now. It could be a win-win for the remaining project residents, the BMHA (which is cash strapped), and The Bills, she pointed out.
She also said, that if the letter was bogus, and the law firm was up to some tactic from which it would benefit, without knowing the real story, that would also be bad news for the Old First Ward. “If people think that they are going to have to move,” said Peg. “That means that they will stop investing into their properties, and if the news is true or not, the community could suffer from disinvestment for years to come. It was a sloppy looking letter, which makes me question the validity of it. But if the law firm got it right, and knows something that no one else is aware of, then I’ll be the first one to stand in the way of the bulldozers when they come.”