One of Buffalo’s biggest eyesores, which was mentioned by Rachacha in a post earlier today, is on its way towards being cleaned up and reused. Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined with Buffalo State College President Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner to officially announce that the college would be the designated developer of the City of Buffalo’s Auto Impound site, located at 166-170 Dart Street. For years, the auto impound has been a sore subject with anyone looking to clean up the area around the Scajaquada Expressway. Not only does the impound look terrible, with all of the broken down cars and debris, it also acts as a barrier for people looking to get from point A to point B along Scajaquada Creek – the Creek is also impeded by the Scajaquada Expressway.
If the Expressway was downgraded to a boulevard, this parcel could play an important role in connecting Buffalo State to the creek and the Jesse Kregal Pathway. This is the perfect time for Buffalo State to reevaluate its parking lots along Grant Street, by creating a plan of action that would extend the built campus towards the creek.
The City’s Auto Impound has been located on the Dart Street site for over 20 years.
“For some time my Administration has been planning to relocate the City’s Auto Impound facility, and the site’s location, adjacent to Buffalo State College, feels like a perfect fit for the educational facility that needs more space to fulfill its long-term mission,” Mayor Brown said. “I have no doubt Dr. Conway-Turner, and the SUNY Buffalo State board and staff, will come up with a creative and fitting use for this highly-visible site.”
“Buffalo State would like to thank Mayor Brown, the City of Buffalo and the Buffalo Common Council for supporting and selecting the college’s affiliate, BSCR Corporation, to serve as the designated developer. We are proud to be partnering with the city on this exciting project,” Dr. Conway-Turner said.
Dart Street was named to honor Joseph Dart, the Buffalo-based inventor of the steam-powered grain elevator.
In tandem with announcing Buffalo State as the future developer of the property, Mayor Brown released a Request for Proposal (RFP), in search for a new location for its Auto Impound operations. Hopefully the new site will be far away from any waterfront.
“At the time this site was chosen for the Auto Impound, this was an industrial neighborhood and the auto impound was a good fit. But, as the years have passed, this area has seen steady investment and redevelopment. We are looking for a site that can accommodate vehicle storage needs, as well as a work center for our City Auto Impound staff,” Mayor Brown said.
Buffalo Parking Commissioner Kevin Helfer said the deadline for proposals is May 23, 2019.
“We want to move this process forward rather quickly so we can start working with a developer to create an impound site that meets our needs for many years to come. We’re seeking a minimum 10-year lease, with an option to extend the lease or potentially purchase the property,” Helfer said.
Basic requirements for the new impound site include:
- A gated and fenced four to six acre paved lot for impounded vehicles
- A 2,500-square-foot office building to house towing dispatch staff, customer service and waiting areas
- Space for the City’s parking meter repair shop
- Parking areas for staff and customers
During the 2019 State of the City Address this past February, Mayor Brown let the cat out of the bag, by informally announcing news on this development. He referred to the undertaking as converting a “scrapyard into a schoolyard.”
“As a land-locked institution, this is a rare opportunity for an urban campus such as Buffalo State to extend its campus footprint, while also contributing to the exciting revitalization of Buffalo’s West Side. It is our hope that the final development plan will be one that is welcoming and supportive of the community, provide new and unique opportunities for our students, and support Buffalo State’s mission as an anchor institution for our great city,” Dr. Conway-Turner said.
The northwest corner of the impound site was also the location of a War of 1812 battle.
The Buffalo Common Council has approved the measure, with the college’s BSCR Corporation paying the City $1,000 per month for an 18-month period. Buffalo State currently has not alluded to what the future use might be, and added that the development of the site is “truly wide open—nothing has been predetermined.”
Buffalo State will look inward to evaluate critical campus capital needs, while looking outwards to the community for input at the same time. Request for proposals will be issued this summer.
Hopefully this is just another step towards solving even larger issues that Rachacha spelled out in his post. One down… lots more to go!