Urban Renewal Plan to Boost Business, Invest in Community
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown joined representatives from the Peace Bridge Authority and PB Americas, Inc. to announce plans for a major investment in the neighborhood surrounding the proposed new Peace Bridge. At the urging of Congressman Higgins and Mayor Brown, $25 million will be invested in Buffalo’s West Side, in addition to mitigation improvements included in the Peace Bridge Expansion Plan.
Last week PB Americas, Inc. was selected by the Peace Bridge Authority to survey, develop and plan for the Peace Bridge Neighborhood Redevelopment Urban Renewal Plan. The process will include significant community participation, site analysis, graphic modeling for community review, health and environmental assessments, an action plan and final project management. “Our goal is to not have people be able to live by the Peace Bridge, but to have people want to live by the Peace Bridge,” said Paul Koessler, Vice Chairman of the Peace Bridge Authority.
“Western New York’s economic future is dependent on a new Peace Bridge that can deliver efficient and predictable cross-border commerce and tourism dollars,” said Congressman Higgins. “This twenty-five million dollar investment in the vicinity of a new bridge will enhance existing neighborhoods and invest in a business district that builds an impressive gateway between the border and the downtown core.”
“The most important thing to consider when drafting the Peace Bridge Expansion plans is how to balance the need for progress with the needs of the neighborhood residents and stakeholders," said Mayor Byron W. Brown. "Many people have made significant investments in their homes and we want to ensure that they are a part of the planning process."
One of PB Americas’ primary goals is to recapture vibrant, urban streetscapes and spaces through sustainable and context-sensitive strategies that consider scenic, aesthetic, historic, community and preservation characteristics into the design of roadways and other projects.
Over the next several months PB Americas will collect neighborhood data with a specific focus on Census Tract 70 and seek community input through an advisory committee and public forums. A draft Urban Renewal Plan will be submitted to the City of Buffalo Planning Board by late December. Following environmental review and additional community input, a final recommendation report will be submitted by the end of January 2008 for Common Council approval. The neighborhood redevelopment work will occur on a separate track when bridge and plaza work commences, which could be as soon as late 2009.