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City embarks upon $5.7 million streetscape phase of the $70 million Northland Corridor project

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.

Mayor Brown breaks up some ground

“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.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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  • Flyguy2pt0

    Has the potential to be the most transformative and meaningful projects out of the Buffalo Billion. Hope people recognize its value and take advantage of it. Could be a great way out of poverty for many folks and lead to many positives throughout the city and region as a result.

    • OldFirstWard

      It sounds more like election year politics to me. Schroeder has Brown looking over his shoulder. This project probably doesn’t even happen to this extent had it not been an election year. I’m sure a lot of people will be wearing new suits and driving big expensive cars after this.

      • Captain Picard

        While you’re not wrong, I’m still pleased to see this investment happening. If election-year pandering results in visible improvement I’m not going to waste time worrying about the motives.

        • armyof100clowns

          Agreed – sometimes a “gift” delivered with ulterior motives should still be accepted with “gratitude”.

          • OldFirstWard

            If you are the one benefiting from the piles of cash then yes, show as much gratitude as your knees can take. But if you are running an election based on a lack of results in certain neighborhoods from the incumbent, then timing is everything. This is free advertising and influence at the deadline paid with taxpayer money.

          • armyof100clowns

            Oh come on, OFW, you’re smarter than that! Read it again – the gift and gratitude are in quotes!

            There is not a politician out there that truly does anything out of pure altruism. All actions have an angle and a price. We don’t have to like it (and shouldn’t), but to stomp your feet and gnash your teeth isn’t going to do a damn thing, and anyone swayed by just this one thing without looking at history is a damn fool. What’s done is done, and in this case, regardless of the pretense, a needed project is underway and Buffalo will benefit.

      • A-BuffalLover

        This has been slated for a couple years out of Buffalo Billion money. Nothing to do with the election.

        • OldFirstWard

          Are you that naive? Check the calendar. BTW, the primary is…today. If it is all about the Buffalo Billion, then where is the Governor? or Lt. Governor, or Howard Zemsky? All I see in the picture is the Mayor, some church pastors, donors, and recipients of the no bid contracts.

      • Flyguy2pt0

        It is truly a sad state of affairs that issues of importance have to raise to election value in order to be implemented. What happened to simply doing the right thing because its the right thing to do without expecting something in return? If this is election year “splash” its sad to hear. Like some others though, either way I would like to see this implemented and project fully executed…fingers crossed with proper vision and management. It takes proper management and also takes a receptive potential student pool. I truly hope citizens take advantage of this. This should be a step out of poverty and hopefully a shot in the arm for City residents. I do worry about populations that have made bad choices and either dropped out of school, ended up taking wrong roads with criminal records, and work ethic concerns resulting from generational poverty though. at the same time firmly believe some of the “criminal” records for non-violent crimes ought not be “criminal” at all (public health concerns) and the scarlet letter mentality of our judicial system, citizens and employers needs to be vanquished.

        A lack of trades people is a nationwide problem and at this point a very marketable skill to have. Perhaps WNY could find a niche and become a mecca for such workers while other regions try to catch up and continue to find it hard to find workers in those fields.

  • Chad Johnson

    This is a great project! Slightly off topic but still somewhat relevant: What on earth is going on with the Seneca streetscape project between Larkin and the ballpark? Have I lost it or wasn’t this supposed to start a year or two ago? Nothing has been done and Seneca looks worse than the surface of the moon.

    • Matthew Moje

      I believe there was an article on here not too long ago that it was out to bid for a start next year.

  • ChronicWestSider

    Can we please get:
    Synchronized traffic lights
    Proper bike lanes
    Separate sanitary and storm sewers

    Now is the time to start doing these things right!

  • Now time to attack the public school system and related support structures with a similar kind of investment. If this is to really work, and you want to bring in graduates from the immediate area, then the schools need to be fixed.

    The kids deserve better. Kindergarteners have no say on where they want to go to school, and certainly can’t choose to go to Williamsville or OP if they want.

    • No_Illusions

      I mean things are happening.

      Teachers just got a raise and new contract, school days are 30 minutes longer starting this year, graduation rates are up (likely due to Say Yes sending offering free college) and NYS just finished $1 billion in capital improvements.

      More can always be done of course.

      Personally, I think the vocational schools and specialty schools have potential to attract suburban students if quality just increased by a good margin. It’s a strategy already working for City Honors.

      • OldFirstWard

        “Personally, I think the vocational schools and specialty schools have potential to attract suburban students if quality just increased by a good margin. It’s a strategy already working for City Honors.”

        What strategy is that? Buffalo schools especially City Honors are not open to suburban non-resident kids.

        Besides, I can’t think of anyone wanting to leave Williamsville, Clarence, Hamburg, Orchard Park, to attend a Buffalo school.

        • Jordan Then

          There were suburbanites with fake city addresses at City Honors when I went there.

          • Captain Picard

            Which is despicable. You want the benefits of an education at one of the best schools in the nation? Then live in the city, you f*cking cheater. If I had a kid at CHS and I knew about such shenanigans I would not hesitate to blow them in. You don’t get to live on two acres in Orchard Park and also poach a spot in an elite school that could/should have gone to my kid or another whose parents play by the rules.

          • Captain Picard

            (I don’t mean you’re a cheater, Jordan Then 🙂 ) I’m speaking abstractly.

          • Jordan Then

            I get it. Other than four years of active duty and two years of dorming at UB North I’ve lived in the city my entire life.

          • No_Illusions

            I think it’s fine…if they were to pay a premium price to attend school outside their own district.

          • armyof100clowns

            Although I agree in theory (to a certain extent), City Honors is a public, criteria based school, not a private for profit enterprise. In the anecdotes provided here, there is apparently no honesty or admission of the fact there are families willingly and willfully “taking” spots from a qualified candidate that truly lives in the city. The parents of these students are using “fake” addresses (relatives/rentals) to attend the school in direct violation of the spirit, if not the word, of the student/school “contract”.

            If these folks were indeed paying the district the equivalent tuition of Nichols or another private institution in the city I would be less inclined to feel anger (there’s still the sale of a city child’s spot that I feel is wrong); however, in these cases the only premium these folks are paying is fuel and possibly tolls . . .

          • No_Illusions

            I guess the important part is that the tuition paid by suburban students would then go towards expanding the school, so it can add additional seats for city residents.

            Definitely agree though. If you’re not contributing to the school (in taxes or tuition) it undermines the system.

          • armyof100clowns

            There are at least three vehicles/families who have Ontario plates that roll in there every morning . . .

          • Captain Picard

            How is it possible that in the smartphone/social media age they can get away with this? This strikes me as something that helicopter parents with sociopathic tendencies vis-a-vis little johnny’s education would seize on immediately. Ontario plates???

          • armyof100clowns


            I’m not one of those sociopathic types (certainly more involved than my parents), and I’m not a busy-body . . . just observant.

            As I replied to OFW above, I’m not sure what the end game would be if these families were identified . . . I’m also convinced administration and the BOE are aware of the situation.

          • OldFirstWard

            I thought about that when I wrote my initial response. I’ve definitely seen that too back when two of my kids graduated over four years ago. I would ask my daughter how that was happening and she said that some Asian and Indian parents were doing it and using addresses of relatives in the city. Some parents were doctors and wanted their kids to excel there to obtain a better opportunity to get into an Ivy League school rather than just fit in at a suburban school.

          • armyof100clowns

            Honestly – I haven’t put forth any effort to identify the “whos” and “whys”, but I know what I have seen over the last (starting on) five years. As you are familiar with the rush in the morning and the snarl of traffic in front of the school at dismissal, it’s just not feasible to try and figure out who’s who.

            . . . besides, I cannot imagine the administration/City of Buffalo BOE is not aware of this education “theft”. I also can’t hold the child responsible for their parents’ dishonesty.

          • Flyguy2pt0

            There are plenty of examples of City residents finding themselves at suburban schools. Its an issue that works both ways.

          • grovercleveland

            There are many many many many many many many many more city children “living” with an aunt or grand parent in the suburbs than there are suburban children “living” in the city to go to this one school.

          • Jordan Then

            That’s probably true.

          • grovercleveland

            Not that I blame anyone for pursuing the best possible education for their children.

          • BlackRockLifer

            My son attended City Honors in the 1990’s, same story.

          • Jordan Then

            That’s when I was there.

          • BlackRockLifer

            His name is Joshua Glasgow, my neighbor Will Creeley also attended (a couple of years behind my son)

          • Jordan Then

            A few years ahead of me.

        • No_Illusions

          Last time I checked none of the suburban school districts had vocational, technical and other specialty high schools.

          These are assets the suburban districts do not have resources for.

          We should double down on these especially as there is a new push for more vocational type training.

          Looks like you’re right about needing to be a city resident, but I’m pretty sure there are some loop holes.

          The main goal is to get more money into the city school district and eventually building it up where city schools out perform most suburban districts.

          • Cvepo

            Doesn’t BOCES cover some vocational programs for suburban students?

          • No_Illusions

            They do, but students are not immersed in the environment as much since they travel off premise.

          • Flyguy2pt0

            Sad to say it and I dont know if this is still the case but there was a time throughout the 90’s and 00’s that BOCES was a bad derogatory word directed at kids by elitist bullies in the schools. BOCE was a demeaning term to call other kids. I remember hearing that crap for years during school. There was such a focus on high flying grades, white collar college education, that the trades were treated like second class and something no person should aspire to. “BOCE” kids were thought of as dumb or flawed in some way. I dont know who pushed that elitism for years, perhaps it was resentment resulting from mass de-industrialization and loss of industrial jobs that made “blue collar” a bad word for parents who pushed their kids to greener pastures in college educated fields because “blue collar” work hardly seemed stable anymore and we were all being told the economy had shifted and it was all about service jobs now. That type of message has proved irresponsible and did not take a longer view. Problem now is the focus tipped so far to one side now we have a serious threat surrounding available educated workers for trades, farming, etc.