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EVENTS OFFER OPPORTUNITIES TO DISCUSS WHY NOT BUFFALO?

The "Why Not Buffalo?" plot thickens.

As The News runs its fourth installment of the series on today's front page, spinoff activities continue. Next up is the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society's public forum scheduled for 1 p.m. next Sunday at 25 Nottingham Court.

Inspired by the initial "Why Not Buffalo?" article by Phil Fairbanks (First Sunday, Jan. 2), the forum hopes to provide structure for concerned citizens who want to work for a more vibrant waterfront. Moderating the panel discussion will be Robert G. Shibley, professor of the Urban Design Project for the University at Buffalo. Fairbanks will represent The News. The panel will also include private developers and public officials. Those on the panel will give brief presentations on waterfront history and their thoughts on how to move forward to realize its great potential.

"This is not a record of failure," Shibley says. "It is a record of slow and steady progress. There are lots of problems, but we have to stop throwing out the baby with the bath water and let the kid mature." Anyone interested in the forum should call Kathleen V. Mathews, coordinator of the project, at 873-9644, Ext. 319.

At the same time, the group Revitalize Buffalo plans another meeting 7 p.m. April 28 at the Delaware Park Casino. The group of young people began meeting last year after the magazine published its "Incredible Shrinking City" series. Amy Maxwell, chairwoman of the group, sends this update of her group's activities:

"Are you tired of hearing about the decline of Buffalo? We are. Do you believe that Buffalo is a great city with an even greater quality of life? We do. We are Revitalize Buffalo. Instead of waiting for someone else to do something, we realized we needed to take action. Our vision is to help build a smarter and cooler Buffalo and to mobilize the bright, creative and hard-working people of Buffalo and the region.

"One of the biggest challenges we face is the current view of the community. The perception desperately needs to be changed. Yes, we have problems with the economy and politics. However, there is no better time to get involved with revitalization. We are at a crossroads. Both the city and county need help getting out of the red and back in the black.

"We are working on 'building an urban experience.' We are going to link up a lecture series with an activity in the city. So for instance, we will have someone talk about the new biomedical campus being built downtown, how to get a job at the campus and then have a tour of the campus. We will also have someone speak to the large artist population and then visit art galleries in the area.

"A larger focus of the group involves buying a building in the downtown area, revitalizing it and offering space to small businesses at low rent. Once one small business is successful, others will want to build around it.

"There are ways to learn more about us. Come to our next meeting April 28 at the Delaware Park Casino. Check out our Web site at www.revitalizebuffalo.org and e-mail your thoughts and ideas to amy@revitalizebuffalo.org.

We know there are hundreds if not thousands of closet Buffalo fans out there. Maybe you don't want to speak up because everyone else around you is complaining. Well, we need your voice. We need you to help us change the climate of the community."

Remember, all "Why Not Buffalo?" articles, along with previous "Incredible Shrinking City" stories, are archived at The News' corner of Buffalo.com. Correspond with those doing the series at whynotbuffalo@buffnews.com.

The local events of the first three months of 2005 have made the message of the "Why Not Buffalo?" project more urgent. First Sunday will report on these and other activities relating to the series as they develop.

FIRST SUNDAY encourages thoughtful reader response and publishes excerpts as space permits. Write to the magazine at:

First Sunday

The Buffalo News

P.O. Box 100,

Buffalo, NY 14240

The magazine's e-mail address is: magazine@buffnews.com

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