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BROKEN BRACKETS HAVE BUFFALO PLACE WAVING GOODBYE TO BANNERS FOR NOW

Those long-awaited banners along Buffalo Place are finally up -- but not for long.

After waiting more than a year for the colorful banners, mall officials are finding the banners are breaking away from light poles, causing a serious hazard for downtown pedestrians.

Just last week, the city had to take down 18 banners because high winds caused the banner brackets to break, allowing the metal brackets to swing free.

Buffalo Place now wants all the banners taken down.

"We have a real problem," Buffalo Place Chairman Robert Fernbach said at today's board meeting. "We've got to get them down before someone is killed."

The fly-away banners are merely the latest chapter in an ongoing problem for the pedestrian mall.

The original problem was the brackets attaching the banners to the light poles. They repeatedly cracked upon installation.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, builders of the $42 million pedestrian mall, wrestled with the faulty brackets and eventually replaced them with "new, improved" brackets.

Now the brackets are breaking away from the poles during high winds.

Fernbach said the NFTA has been asked to remove all the banners and replace the brackets.

Buffalo Place also unveiled its proposed 1989 budget. The budget includes a 6 percent increase in the mall service charge levied against mall land owners.

The budget will be the subject of a public hearing at 5 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Buffalo Place offices, 671 Main St.

Buffalo Place also is proceeding with its evaluation of a plan to expand the special charge district.

The group has formed a committee to consider whether the district should extend beyond its current boundaries of Pearl, Washington and Goodell streets and south to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Servicemen's Park.

Fernbach said the plan has already resulted in opposition from several land owners, including The Buffalo News.

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