BUFFALO, N.Y. – A $6 million study will look at the possibility of covering the part of the 33 that runs from Ferry Street to Best Street.
“This is an example of how all aspects of the city should be included whenever investment is made,” says Karen Stanley Fleming.
Stanley Fleming is the Executive Director of the Restore Our Community Coalition, an advocacy group pushing to restore Humboldt Parkway. Coalition members say $4 million would fund a study of design alternatives and an environmental assessment. That would take three years.
“To restore this parcel of land does a lot to lift the spirit of a community whose spirit has died because of what’s happening with this wall,” says Stephanie Geter, ROCC Board President.
Then, it would take an additional two years and $2 million to create construction drawings and manage the bid process. Shovels could be in the ground in four to five years.
The state funding means a lot to Richard Cummings.
“I got roots here. My grandparents grew up on Girard Place, and my parents right now live right across the street from the park,” says Cummings.
But by the time Cummings moved here in 1969 from Chicago, the trees were already gone.
“I remember seeing the construction and the dirt and hearing the pounding,” he says.
The result ended up dividing the community. A U.B. study done previously showed the investment of this restorative project would pay off with businesses coming back and homes rising in value.
“All of the homes that we see here around Humboldt have lost their property values incredibly because of this chasm in front of us. But in addition, there have been serious detrimental environmental and health damages to many homes in this parkway,” says Stanley Fleming.
“So to restore that, to us, means everything. Just brings back to life. It’s our restorative kind of branch happening in this whole reborn Buffalo movement,” says Geter.
The current estimate for the total cost is $570 million, but the work the NYSDOT does with the $6 million will give us a more accurate number.
If ultimately approved, the project would be paid for with a mix of state and federal funding, as well as private donations.