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It was with disappointment that I read the notice on Sept. 18 of the closing of the Club Utica. Businesses come and go, and landmarks like the Club Utica will be missed until the next enterprise arrives. But my disappointment stems from the owner blaming the neighborhood for the closing.

It is a fact that the neighborhood is not what it was; problems do exist. But it is also a fact that people in the neighborhood, especially on nearby Eighteenth Street, are banding together to solve those problems.

Gone are the days when a business person could focus solely on his or her establishment and not invest in the neighborhood, too. Michael Attardo on Elmwood Avenue, Sam Buscarino on Niagara Street and Mark Goldman on Chippewa Street are the new breed of business persons in the City of Buffalo. Their success feeds off their commitment to their surroundings.

The owner of the Club Utica is of retirement age. My own brother agonized for months before selling the family farm. Surely the choice of the owner to admit that he couldn't go on forever was difficult. Perhaps he wishes a buyer would emerge to keep the club going. But time ran out, as it does for us all. We must accept the situation and move on and not cast blame elsewhere.

The neighborhood was good to the Club Utica for many years. It deserves better treatment today.

John Cromwell President, West Side Neighborhood Congress

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