– Buffalo is creating an “urban prairie” by knocking down so many vacant buildings. There are concerns the city doesn’t have a master plan and has haphazardly vacated entire blocks. The Buffalo News reports:
“It’s a ghost town. They just move the crane right down the street.”
Mayor Byron W. Brown’s administration has been on a demolition spree, with a goal of knocking down 5,000 buildings in five years, including those owned by private individuals and city redevelopment agencies. Coming on the heels of the Masiello administration, which demolished thousands more, a lot of buildings have come tumbling down.
“Other than Detroit, I don’t know any city that does the magnitude of demolitions that Buffalo does,” said David Mazur, president of Empire Dismantlement on Grand Island.
Rochester does have a plan. Project Green would strategically demolish entire streets. It may involve relocating residents. But the plan appears to be sitting on a shelf.
When I did a story about a request for proposals that would green a section of E. Main St., a city spokesman sent me and my boss a scathing email. He claimed I was mischaracterizing Project Green as a “scorched earth” policy. Clearly, City Hall is uncomfortable discussing the plan.
Buffalo is avoiding some demolitions by selling homes to people for $1 through a HUD program. Rochester has done this in the past. But the numbers are very small. I’d be interested in seeing if the program could be expanded, though giving away houses could present other challenges.
– The Buffalo teachers union fight against teacher evaluations that do not exclude absent students has the support of teachers statewide. This fight will likely come to Rochester if the state doesn’t relent.
– This is the Syracuse version of the Inner Loop. The city is debating what to do with the urban section of I-81. It could be a tunnel or a regular boulevard.
– Anyone can now broadcast on the Internet. Google announced an upgraded hangouts. I want to try this on The Rochesterian. What do you think of weekly video chats?