Monday, November 29, 2010

Housing project makes old homes new again

 Certain West Side streets will be undergoing a major facelift over the next six months with the help of PUSH Buffalo, HomeFront Inc., and a sturdy $3 million budget. The renewal project seeks to remodel multiple deteriorating homes on the same street in an attempt to beautify and create sustainable neighborhoods along some of the West Side’s most blighted areas. While there is a significant abandoned housing problem in this particular region of Buffalo, both organizations believe that the upcoming renaissance of these streets will attract residents with a vested interest in the community and will work towards preserving the upkeep of the neighborhoods. Projects have already gotten underway with two homes having been sold and another three under construction. Full story.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bazaar expected to bring buzz to West Side

 The West Side Bazaar is an idea created and executed by various West Side organizations. The motive behind the idea is to help build a flourishing commercial business for this particular Buffalo community. However, behind every great idea comes several struggles, and the West Side Bazaar has faced its fair share of struggles. The opening date has been pushed back further and further, but the hope remains alive for all those involved. Full story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

West Buffalo Charter School in battle over location

 The tug-of-war between Elmwood Village Charter School and West Buffalo Charter School is almost at its end. The conflict between the two schools began when the sale of a vacant building to Elmwood Village Charter School was blocked by an Erie County Supreme Court Justice.
 It has been decided that the final decision will be made by a two-thirds vote made by the Buffalo Common Council. The two schools will be notified when they can place further bids on the building and then the Council will choose which charter school will be the occupant. Full story.

Niagara branch library avoids most cutbacks

 With financial setbacks and shortages within the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library system, many at the Niagara Branch Library located at 280 Porter Ave. are left wondering about the library’s future; with plans of reinvention, many hope that the system as a whole rejuvenates itself. Full story.

Merging old and new through business group

 The Grant-Ferry Association under the new leadership of Kathleen Kinan, president, and Gary Welborn, vice president, is working to better reach out to new and old businesses to establish a strong connection among them. By doing this, Grant Street will start to become a more diverse business strip, which is the association’s main goal. Full story.

West Side goes green to fix sewer problems

 Across the city, much is being done to make Buffalo greener.
Due to the West Side being so concentrated, there is a higher need for improvement than other places in the city. Every time there is a major rainfall, the sewer water  can back up into basements and streets.
 With the help of Niagara Riverkeeper and people like Dave Majewski, the city is fighting to stop the sewers from backing up due to rainwater. Some of the projects include rain gardens and building greener parking lots, and more plans are in talk. Full story.

Tutoring program expands to aid West Side schools

 Public schools in Buffalo, particularly those in West Side communities, struggle to produce the appropriate test scores required by New York State. However, the No Child Left Behind Act enacted in 2001 made Upgrade Academics, a non-profit organization, possible. Nancy Berger, whose drive was education and helping students in need, started Upgrade Academics in 2004. The program since has grown and flourished across Buffalo, and has recently seen an expansion on the West Side. The demands for the program’s services are increasing in the community with hopes of achieving the New York State standard of education and learning. Full story.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PUSHing the limits of energy efficiency

People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) is developing a house on Winter Street that will involve building a ground-based heating system and installing solar panels. Full story.

PUSH against National Fuel incentive program

 How far would you go to fight for something you believed in? PUSH – a Grassroots, nonprofit organization located on the West Side -- is involved in a struggle against utility giant National Fuel. PUSH has petitioned against the renewal of National Fuel’s Conservation Incentive Program. The CIP deals with National Fuel customers who buy new appliances, a rebate is given, as long as the efficiency rate is a certain amount.
 PUSH has been placed under temporary restraint by the state Supreme Court for taking its cause too far. Full story.

Grant Street brings 'sweetness' to West Side

Ray Grasso relaxes over breakfast on Sweet_ness 7 Cafe's patio
 The Sweet_ness 7 Café on 220 Grant St. has developed into a meeting place for some of Buffalo’s West Side movers and shakers. The café offers a homey feel for those looking to get away from the busy and corporate structures populating Elmwood Avenue. The café is contributing to the overall rebuilding process of the West Side, offering a home base to the organizations and people that play into the effort. Full story.

War-torn family finds place to HEAL

 Hassan Farah has overcome a great deal in his life thus far, but those hardships are only driving him to rise above the adversity. At just 22 years old, Farah created a refugee organization on the West Side dedicated to helping the displaced become educated, find employment and participate in their new communities. Full story.