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Funding Is Step Forward for Kensington Expressway Revamp Effort

Source: Buffalo YNN

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Before it was cars and concrete, the view for people who live along this part of the 33 in Buffalo used to be much greener.

“It took $45 million back in 1954 to destroy Humboldt Parkway, which today would accumulate to up to $400 million so, the state certainly had the money to destroy the parkway, so now they most certainly have the money to repair the parkway,” said Restore Our Community Coalition Research Associate Bradley Bethel, Jr.

“This was all over the United States, this type of urban development was being done. Most places have reversed the mistakes, and that’s what we’re going to be doing here,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday during a media event in Buffalo.

The coming year’s budget includes $6 million for environmental and design assessments to study restoring one-third of the original Humboldt Parkway. ROCC supports a design that would cover a mile of the expressway.

“The covering will completely leave the freeway alone,” said Bethel. “People will still be able to commute from downtown to the airport as they wish.”

Those in favor of the project say reconnecting the neighborhood can help spur economic growth on the city’s east side, an area some say was left behind while the rest of Buffalo experienced a so-called renaissance.

“We’re envisioning a completely rejuvenated east side, bringing a part of the city that has been disenfranchised for about 50 years, brining it into the fuller narrative of the city’s redevelopment,” said Bethel.

Bethel says that could include increased property values and may help attract businesses to the area.

Next up, he says the environmental study will take a look at air and soil quality. He says the design and build phase could take up to five years.