Pridgen wants to offer gift that may not be deserved
Darius Pridgen, Ellicott District councilmember, is frustrated by TM Montante Development’s inability to move forward with plans to redevelop the former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital campus.
Making matters worse, a massive mound of crushed concrete and dirt stands as a constant reminder of the dormant development project, and the failure of Buffalo officials to compel prompt removal of the demolition debris as required by the city code.
Aware that residents at the Canterbury Woods Gates Circle facility are angered by the sight of the debris pile and the dust blown from the nearby mound, Pridgen wants to see something happen at the site.
He’s pinned his hopes on a scheme devised by the Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency (BURA) and Montante: If the Common Council characterizes this prestigious neighborhood as a “blighted area.” it could use an obscure state law to form the “Linwood Lafayette Urban Development Assistance Area” (UDAA), and give enhanced tax incentives and financial assistance to Montante.
But there’s a problem: the purpose of the statute (Article 16 of the state’s General Municipal Law) is not to bail out a financially strapped developer when its plans for an ambitious private project stalls.
Article 16’s generous incentives were meant to encourage hesitant private enterprises to help correct blight at city-owned properties that the municipality acquired through urban renewal or condemnation powers.
Faced with this question of legislative intent, Councilmember Pridgen should seek legal advice from a professional who does not have a potential conflict-of-interest. But he hasn’t. He’s asked for a written opinion on the legality of the proposed UDAA from the same BURA attorney who prepared the challenged request.
Pridgen appears more interested in protecting himself against a future claim that he acted recklessly, than complying with the law and preserving the Common Council’s integrity.
Pegulas should stop hitting up taxpayers
In an April 4 News story, Kim Pegula discusses team plans. She said they might build a new stadium or renovate the old one.
For her information, the taxpayers have already paid to have this done only a few years ago. Also, this year New Era Field will get new turf grass. Erie County contributes $3 million annually for stadium upgrades and work at the stadium. I am sick of all this money going to fund a place where drunks hang out on game day.
Ban booze from the lots and at the game and there will be no need for a new stadium. No one would show up. Ninety percent of the fans are only there for the party, not the game.
Frigid winters, hot summers make malls more inviting
I read, with interest, Samantha Christmann’s column regarding the town center at Eastern Hills Mall. Her premise was that just because other cold cities had built such venues it was plausible that such a place would work here. Last winter I traveled to such a center, close by, in Canada. It was a frigid, windy day.
The shopping experience was less than pleasurable. There is no leaving your coat in the car to leisurely stroll through the mall and make purchases. I had to run from one store to the next to get out of the cold
It seems like every month or so I read about new places to eat and drink that are opening in Buffalo in addition to condos, townhouses, etc. being built. The city is receiving and allocating millions to make improvements to the waterfront, art gallery, parks, bike paths and more.
But, there is something that is being neglected. The presence of potholes in most of our streets in Buffalo. Driving around Buffalo involves maneuvering around countless ruts and holes in the road. In some sections of the city it’s like a minefield out there.
I suppose the Buffalo renaissance is ongoing but it will be in no way complete until something is done about this situation.