Author: RaChaCha

RaChaCha

RaChaCha is a Garbage Plate™ kid making his way in a Chicken Wing world. Since 2008, he's put over a hundred articles on here, and he asked us to be sure to thank you for reading. So, thank you for reading. You may also have seen his freelance byline in Artvoice, where he writes under the name his daddy gave him [Ed: Send me a check, and I might reveal what that is]. When he's not writing, RaChaCha is an urban planner, a rehabber of houses, and a community builder. He co-founded the Buffalo Mass Mob, and would love to see you at the next one. He represents Buffalo Young Preservationists on the Trico roundtable. If you try to demolish a historic building, he might have something to say about that. He is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Things you may not know about RaChaCha (unless you read this before): "Ra Cha Cha" is a nickname of his hometown. (Didn't you know that? Do you live under a rock?) He's a political junkie (he once worked for the president of the Monroe County Legislature), but we don't really let him write about politics on here. He helped create a major greenway in the Genesee Valley, and worked on early planning for the Canalway Trail. He hopes you enjoy biking and hiking on those because that's what he put in all that work for. He was a ringleader of the legendary "Chill the Fill" campaign to save Rochester's old downtown subway tunnel. In fact, he comes from a long line of troublemakers. An ancestor fought at Bunker Hill, and a relative led the Bear Flag Revolt in California. We advise you to remember this before messing with him in the comments. He worked on planning the Rochester ARTWalk, and thinks Buffalo should have one of those, too (write your congressman). You can also find RaChaCha (all too often, we frequently nag him) on the Twitters at @HeyRaChaCha. Which is what some people here yell when they see him on the street. You know who you are.

After inviting the public, during the summer, to give input on a proposal to create a Richardson Park, the Campaign For Greater Buffalo last Thursday evening unveiled a final version of the plan at a public presentation. The next day, I caught up with Tim Tielman at the Campaign’s offices on Forest Avenue—appropriately located directly across the street from the Richardson-Olmsted Complex in which they have invested so much time, effort, and thought. Although the community knows the Campaign primarily as a preservation organization, this proposal made it clear that they have taken a close look at many aspects of…

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After voting Thursday night to consolidate their organizations, representatives of the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier and the Preservation Coalition of Erie County—now operating jointly as Preservation Buffalo Niagara—met with the press and public Friday morning along with representatives of state and national preservation organizations. Everyone came offering congratulations, cooperation, and substantial financial support. Catherine Schweitzer, Executive Director of the Baird Foundation, officiated. She called the consolidation a “logical evolution” for preservation in the Niagara Frontier region. She especially acknowledged her board of directors for their support of her almost exclusive devotion to the consolidation efforts this year. Everyone…

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The bison is back at the Buffalo Central Terminal! Well—OK—not that bison. Read on: Bit by bit, the all-volunteer Central Terminal Restoration Corporation is bringing the Buffalo Central Terminal back to life. Last week, steps were taken to replace the concrete sidewalk outside the main vistors entrance, which has made it possible to remove the safety fence. This greatly enhances the appearance of the terminal as a valuable community resource, rather than sending an “off limits” message. Funding for this project was secured by Common Council President and Fillmore district representative David Fanczyk, a longtime friend and supporter of the…

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“This is a landmark day for preservation in Buffalo,” quipped Cynthia Van Ness, President of the Preservation Coalition of Erie County, about today’s planned vote by both her organization and the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier to consolidate operations. The meeting will take place at the Karpeles Manuscript Library on North Street, itself a prime example of the preservation principle of adaptive reuse. The consolidated organization will be named Preservation Buffalo Niagara. The new organization intends to bring the energy and organizational experience of both its predecessors to bear on urgent preservation needs in both Erie and Niagara Counties—and…

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Saturday I enjoyed spending time with some fine Buffalo folks, and took part in a popular October ritual: drinking Pumpkin Spice Latte at Caffé Aroma. But while sipping and watching the life on Elmwood, things suddenly got weird and we found ourselves watching the unlife. Covered with blood, gore, and gashes, dozens of moaning zombies began shuffling past. What could be responsible for the sudden zombie invasion, we wondered. Sunspots? A disease? The financial meltdown (one of the zombies looked at bit like a broker friend of mine)? The Bills losing ugly last weekend? On hearing several of the zombies…

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Hidden in the recent coverage of the sale of the former American Axle plant was news that sent a shudder up my spine with its implications: half the complex will be demolished—in large part, for the value of the recovered materials. According to the coverage in the Buffalo News: Jim Militello, of JR Militello Real Estate, a Buffalo firm specializing in sale and lease of commercial and industrial properties, said the buyer’s plans for partial demolition fit an emerging pattern where the rising price of scrap steel is a purchase motivator. “The price of steel is at a point where…

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Back in the day before international airports and interstate highways, the Central Terminal was Buffalo’s gateway to the world. But in a turn of events scarcely imaginable to the generation that built the Terminal, passenger rail service is now a ghost of its former self—chronically late, infrequent, and boarded from sheds either miles away in Depew, or cowering hidden at the feet of the expressway downtown. Now, in a post-modern era of skyrocketing gas prices, re-urbanization, and increased recognition of transportation alternatives, what could our transportation system and options look like in the next decade or so? And what could…

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A visitation of 150 decidedly non-ghostly spirits was recorded at the Buffalo Central Terminal Sunday, perhaps mysteriously drawn by the Terminal’s recent “Ghost Hunter” notoriety. Although it hasn’t served rail passengers in several decades, the Terminal is far from dead, as this tour revealed. And although the Terminal’s epitaph was written by the Buffalo News in the 1990’s, it was thankfully rescued from the grave by the fine folks of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation. Starting with a tour of the exterior, Brian Angevine and Hank Olejniczak of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation gave everyone an overview of how the…

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In a recent comment, StephenJames716 asked about progress at the Richardson-Olmsted Complex. Although a walk around the grounds reveals some stabilization efforts underway (more information, below), it hardly gives a sense of the frenzied activity going on behind the scenes in planning some significant upcoming steps. Monica Pellegrino-Faix, project coordinator for the Richardson Center Corporation (RCC), which is overseeing the complex, has these updates: Planning and stabilization efforts are moving forward for both the complex and the Architecture and Visitors Center. Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, an urban planning and architecture firm, is leading the master planning team. The team consists of…

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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A MONTH MAKES! With the heroic action by the neighbors and friends of White’s Livery—including the Buffalo Rising community—the situation that just a month ago seemed like a “death watch” for the Livery will instead—this Sunday—be cause for celebration and discussion of the building’s future. Neighbors for Save the Livery will be on hand to celebrate, share updates, and to thank the many who have supported this effort. Their invitation is below. Check out the project update and photos on www.savethelivery.com. But that’s not all for Sunday! Just around the corner, there will also be a related…

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