A $70 million investment project on the city’s East Side has broken ground. The City has started work on the $5.7 million streetscape phase of the Northland Corridor infrastructure project between Fillmore and Grider. The site is the future home of the Western New York Workforce Training Center (Northland Beltline Redevelopment Project). The infrastructure underway will help to bridge the gap between the community and the 35-acre training and jobs campus, by creating a safe, friendly, walkable neighborhood.
“A major focus of the streetscape project is to connect the on-site work, that’s well underway, to the community, helping to transform the surrounding neighborhood,” Mayor Brown said.
The streetscape project includes all new water and sewer lines, street paving, new curbs and sidewalks, new greenscape, street trees and plantings, and LED streetlights. There will also be traffic calming measures implemented, including a new traffic signal.
Mayor Brown noted there is constant monitoring of the “Community Workforce Agreement,” that sets high goals for the employment of minorities, women, city resident and apprentices. Specifically, the project has a 25% minority, 5% female, 30% city resident, and 20% apprentice hour goals.
“This will not only be an attractive corridor leading to the training and jobs campus, it will be a welcoming entrance to the Delavan-Grider neighborhood and Buffalo’s East Side,” Mayor Brown said.
Since the project got underway, two buildings have been demolished, and rehab work is being conducted on a structure at 683 Northland Avenue. Construction of the training center is set to commence next month. The project has a completion date of October 1, 2018.
“This is a miracle that has been brought about because of the unity of all those involved on this project,” said Reverend Gillison, of Mt. Olive Baptist Church and leader of the Concerned Clergy of WNY. “For many of us, we’re watching a vision become a reality.”
“This is not a concept, this is the real thing and we’re making great progress,” said Peter Cammarata, President of the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, which is the City’s lead agency on the project.
Mayor Brown stated that he is dedicated to creating a place where young people will have a chance to learn trades, which will give them an opportunity to enter into skilled workforce opportunities that might not be currently available to them.
“The project workforce goals are being met and the first class of the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program is finishing up its second week of the paid, eight-week program. Our first group of five African-American trainees, which includes four men and one woman, all from the immediate neighborhood and nearby zip codes, have been hard at work,” Mayor Brown said.
This is a very big deal for the East Side, and all of Buffalo. It’s not only an opportunity for young people to learn the trades, it’s also an opportunity for local companies to access a trades employee pool that has been drying up for years.