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Letter: Preserve historic character of Fruit Belt neighborhood

Preserve historic character of Fruit Belt neighborhood

Members of the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force read the article on designated developer for the Cold Spring and Fruit Belt neighborhoods with great interest, especially since this was the first time many of us have even heard of Eunice Lewin. The News writes this is her first effort at redevelopment, which is worrisome to us. Although she is well-connected to McGuire Development, she lacks a track record in real estate development for the neighborhood to scrutinize.

Infill is mentioned and although infill is an important part of neighborhood regeneration, details to consider but not addressed, are: contractor and general hiring, design, construction, setbacks from sidewalks, height of proposed buildings and any elements that distinguish good quality from poor.

The Fruit Belt is home to handcrafted homes of natural materials dating back to 1840. Cookie-cutter designs of vinyl homes better suited to suburban cul-de-sacs would not fit the unique, historic character of the area. We believe the community should see and be involved in any development plans before plans are submitted to the Planning Board.

Since there is a stated commitment to making a positive economic impact on the East Side, the several insured and certified contractors who live in the Fruit Belt and are dedicated to the area should be employed by developers. There is a strong preservation community that will work with developers to do right by our heritage. We hope developers will consider working with the neighborhood, preservationists and its supporters to maintain the architectural integrity and to have dollars invested where we live.

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols

Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force, Buffalo