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Another Voice: Medical Campus shares common goals with neighbors

By Matt Enstice

The Buffalo News recently highlighted the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the creation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem for new and growing companies. This growth, coupled with economic development on and near the Medical Campus, is bringing a sense of optimism and excitement to Buffalo.

For some in the adjacent neighborhoods, however, growth brings with it a sense of concern about its impact and whether they can share in Buffalo’s renaissance. The good news is that the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus shares many of the same goals as our neighbors and the organizations that serve them.

The strategic vision of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC), the nonprofit created to address shared issues among member institutions and nearby neighborhoods, is to revitalize our community on and beyond the campus. The BNMC is actively engaged in initiatives that ensure that the needs of stakeholders – patients, neighbors, visitors, employees and our overall community – are considered and planned for as the campus grows.

This approach, called MutualCity, is designed to leverage the assets of the Medical Campus to help to build a stronger Buffalo.

We know we can’t do this alone, which is why we seek opportunities to learn more. We have canvassed our neighborhoods to gain input on issues, including barriers to jobs and transportation issues. We host open “Four Neighborhoods, One Community” meetings to discuss critical issues with neighbors, and we regularly attend neighborhood meetings and events.

We are connecting nearby residents and employers by opening up communication, sharing job and business opportunities and providing training. We offer mentoring and workspace to those who want to create and grow businesses. We are addressing access by promoting alternative transportation options, including carpooling, biking, CarShare and transit while creating a healthier environment. By improving streetscapes, we are working to create a safe, walkable and accessible campus designed to enhance a sense of neighborhood.

We are working with local officials to study parking issues and encourage changes to current policies that will help local residents. We also support efforts made through the City of Buffalo and others to help local homeowners and renters stay in their neighborhoods.

The positive impact of the Medical Campus is being realized in many ways, including improved health care and in educating the next generation. By continuing to work together, we believe we can help build a new Buffalo that is enjoyed by all.

Matt Enstice is president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.