Prid­gen wants to of­fer gift that may not be de­served

The Buffalo News - - OPINION - Arthur J. Gi­acalone Gary May David Cavall

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.


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