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MEDAILLE'S NEIGHBORS ANGRY AT DORM PLAN CONVERTING HOME SEEN AS THREATENING RESIDENTIAL FEEL OF HUMBOLDT PARKWAY

Neighbors of Medaille College say they are upset by the school's plans to buy a home and convert it to a dormitory.

Lynn Corcoran, chairwoman of the Burbank-Meadowview-Agassiz Association, criticized Medaille's plans to buy property along Humboldt Parkway for use as a 10-student dormitory. She described her reaction to the plan as "anger and sadness."

"If you ask yourself what the ideal urban neighborhood looks like, you probably would come up with something that looks a lot like this neighborhood," she said.

"These are wonderful old Buffalo houses. We feel very threatened that a change this radical may come about."

The neighbors group has invited Medaille's president, Kevin Sullivan, and the school's trustees to meet with residents at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the LBJ Apartments.

Medaille's 13-acre campus currently has no student housing. Sullivan said today that there is room on campus to build a dormitory that might hold 50 to 100 students, but he stressed the school is only just beginning to look at growth options and had not signed anything or made any formal offers for property in the area.

Sullivan said he had just learned of the meeting and may not be able to attend because of a conflicting commitment. If he cannot, he said, he might send a representative or a prepared statement addressing the neighbors' concerns.

The Medaille president expressed disappointment that the neighborhood group had complained publicly.

"For the past three years, we have worked very hard at improving communications with the neighbors," he said. "We've also worked very hard to upgrade the campus."

Sullivan said he meets regularly with Ms. Corcoran and keeps her informed of the school's plans and concerns.

"Maybe our fault was in being too honest and open," he said.

The neighborhood is bounded roughly by Medaille, Forest Lawn, the Buffalo Parks Department and the Scajaquada Expressway.

Ms. Corcoran said she learned from college authorities Friday that Medaille intends to purchase the property at 95 Humboldt and use it to house students in the school's increasingly popular veterinary science program.

She said Sullivan told her recently that the school also will consider buying other houses in the neighborhood.

Residents pointed to problems -- including parking shortages and drinking parties -- of other neighborhoods bordering college campuses, including Canisius and Buffalo State and the South Campus of the University at Buffalo.

Ms. Corcoran said the Medaille neighborhood is even smaller than those of other colleges and is less able to assimilate student housing.

"We are a very stable neighborhood, with 95 percent of the homes owner-occupied," said Warren Galloway, another member of the community group.

"We want to nip this before it gets started. Eventually, between Canisius and Medaille, we worry the whole area will become student housing."

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