Author: Jason Geiger
As the holidays hit Western NY in full force and the New Year approaches, it is the season to reflect upon and appreciate some of the good things that are taking place in our neighborhoods. This particular reflection of mine concerns Richard Hamilton and his expansion of Deep South Taco to a 2nd location.
The soon-to-be-open location, at the corner of Hertel and Starin avenues in North Buffalo, is built on the bones of a long standing FastTrack Quick Lube oil change. To start, the restaurant design is great and utilizes the existing structure in such a way that adds to the neighborhood without imposing on the surrounding residential area. However when you get the full story, you quickly realize this in not a case of “Buffalo business as usual”.
Instead of using some real estate developer’s trickier tactics or politically connected wrangling, Hamilton worked with neighbors to find a solution that would work for the businesses and the nearby houses. While that is great in and of itself, Hamilton put his money where his mouth was when they discovered the soil surrounding the old garage was poisoned by years of the mishandling of used motor oil.
At that point, nearly every other local business person would have given up or waited months or years for funding from the government to clean up the area. While waiting for federal and state funds makes “good business sense’ in some cases, the owner of Deep South decided it was better for community to just pay out of their own pockets to get this done. The total cleanup cost was considerably greater than $100,000 (official number not posted). Even more importantly during the cleanup, they discovered the contamination was dangerously close to contaminating the ground water. Rectifying this environmental issue happened just in the nick of time and helped to avoid an even more expensive disaster to North Buffalo.
This article’s intent is meant simply as a kudos and as an example of what some local residents are doing to make a difference. While there does exist a very small group of Western NY news readers who will surely comment below about this still “not being enough” or “progress is bad” there is a larger group of strong-willed, honest, logical and kind pro-Buffalonians that don’t let these kind of negative statements affect them. That is who this article is for. In tune with the season, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the amount of us who consider ourselves one of the “quiet good guys” vastly outnumber the small but loud group of flamers and trolls that might follow with complaints and angry tangents.
As you find yourself celebrating your holiday, in whichever form that takes in the coming weeks, keep in mind that there are good people out there that do the right things for the right reasons, and don’t ask for much in return.
Sometimes that might be as simple as a neighbor who clears your sidewalk, a stranger that pushes your car out of the snow or a local business that literally “cleans-up” the neighborhood for the chance to sell you a taco and put a smile on your face. Don’t let the negative people or media shade your view of the goodness that’s out there. It would be a very nice thing if once a year we take the time to see the uprightness in ourselves and others. Those types of good people are always closer than you realize.