On January 31, 2020 in Buffalo, New York, Roseann Scibilia—Executive Director of the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA)—was joined by Senator Tim Kennedy, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, University District Councilman Rasheed Wyatt, and additional community leaders to announce that New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) had awarded the UDCDA $326,196 in New York Main Street grant program funding.
“This grant supports the ongoing revitalization of the Main Street corridor and complements my Administration’s continuing effort to spur improvements in every section of our City,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “Through the Better Buffalo Fund, my Administration has helped fuel successful projects in the University District including Parkside Candy, the University Lofts and aid business owners on Bailey Avenue with building renovations.”
The grant will be used to assist Main Street property owners with the renovation and rehabilitation of storefronts, facades, interior commercial spaces, and residential units along the historic Main Street corridor.
“Buffalo’s historic Main Street corridor is home to a vibrant and close-knit community,” said Senator Kennedy. “This grant will improve this neighborhood even more, building on its unique strengths, including its light rail system. I worked hard last year to secure a $100 million commitment for improvements to Metro Rail, and it is heartening to see new investments now come into one of the many communities Metro Rail serves. Congratulations to the UDCDA on this well-deserved grant. I look forward to seeing their successes in the near future.”The grant will focus on a six block area between Englewood Ave and Highgate Ave, the walkable and transit-accessible heart of the University Heights neighborhood. In the coming months, the UDCDA will begin working with local property owners to award matching funds to be used toward revitalizing the stretch of Main Street’s historic building stock.
“Through proactive community planning, technical assistance, and targeted investments, the UDCDA has supported projects that have restored historic landmarks, breathed new life into vacant buildings, and engaged community volunteers in district-wide beautification efforts. Public funds, like those available through the New York Main Street program, are a critical tool in unlocking the potential of the Main Street business corridor to not only serve as a vibrant and vital heart of the community for its residents, but also to attract visitors and customers from across the region,” said Scibilia.
RuthAnne Visnauskas added, “Through the New York Main Street program, HCR helps small businesses and property owners make improvements that beautify downtowns and grow the local economy. This $326,196 award to UDCDA is part of Governor Cuomo’s strategy to build a better Buffalo by investing in mixed-use development along commercial corridors to create active, walkable neighborhoods where New Yorkers want to live and work. The enhancements along this important and historic Main Street in the University District will serve as a catalyst for additional private investment. When Main Street thrives, Buffalo gets stronger.”
The University District Community Development has a strong track record of administering state-funded grants. They included $150,000 for the revitalization and reopening of the historic Varsity Theatre on Bailey Avenue, $300,000 in Better Buffalo Funding for commercial storefront improvements on Bailey Avenue, $125,000 for the renovation of Parkside Candy on Main Street, and $20,000 for a Main Street planning grant.
“Congratulations to UDCDA on securing a $326,000 Main Street Grant to help residents and property owners create attractive storefronts, facades, and well-maintained commercial properties,” said Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “UDCDA has worked very hard to steadily transform the University Heights’ vibrant Main Street corridor into one of the city’s premier walkable neighborhoods.”
Featured photo courtesy of Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo.