The future of the East Side is taking shape. Recently, Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen (Ellicott District) and the administration of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown agreed to transfer up to 50 city-owned vacant properties to East Side residents living in the Fruit Belt (F.B.), which will form the “F.B. Community Land Trust”.
The founding member of the Community First Alliance (CFA) and the F.B. Community Land Trust (FBCLT) is the organization Open Buffalo. Supporters of Open Buffalo feel that the transferral of properties is a significant step in the right direction, by empowering East Side residents to map out their own future. The time has come that the East Side will become a desirable area of the city for developers, speculators, investors, etc. The landscape of The East Side is about to change, and Open Buffalo is being proactive by ensuring that the East Side residents are able to control their own destinies.
“This victory for the F.B. Community Land Trust is progress for every person fighting for a place to live, raise a family, and thrive amid Buffalo’s storied economic resurgence,” said Franchelle Parker, Executive Director of Open Buffalo. “We are proud to have played a part in this historic moment.”
Open Buffalo continues to fight for inclusion, rather than giving into the threat of being excluded. Along with members of the CFA, there is a renewed energy, by offering Fruit Belt community leaders “a seat at the table”. Ultimately, the intention is to protect the historic character and cultural assets of the neighborhood.
Concerned about the fate of more than 200 vacant city-owned properties in this small, historically African-American community, members of the CFA helped to launch and incorporate the F.B. Community Land Trust in 2017 — the first functioning community land trust in our city’s history. The independent FBCLT is designed to facilitate ‘development without displacement,’ with residents steering the ship.
As Council President Pridgen recently stated, “Those lots would stay in the hands of working class and low-income people. Whatever that land trust, the community land trust, builds there as far as housing, for 99 years, 99 years, it cannot be transferred to wealthy people, it can’t be sold to other people.”
In recent years, partially due to the growth of the Medical Campus, residents have been faced with an increased number of property speculators looking to take hold of properties, streets, and ultimately the neighborhood. The Land Trust is set up to protect a “vulnerable neighborhood”.
“The pending transfer of dozens of properties from the City to the land trust will be a true landmark occasion for Buffalo. We hope that this will lead to a new way of doing business and channeling investment in the ‘City of Good Neighbors.'” – Open Buffalo