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City Hallways (May 19): At Gates Circle, a house call isn't enough

More work to be done
Lots of praise is coming from the Gates Circle community for the work Delaware Councilman Joel Feroleto and Council President Darius Pridgen have done on a Gates Circle special zoning district plan.

Maps shows site of former Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital which will be demolishedOne resident said the two men even came to his Lancaster Avenue home.

"The councilmen sat at my dining room table and impressed my teenage son," said James Smith.

But just impressing a teenager isn't proving to be enough.

Neither the teenager's dad, nor most of the other speakers at a recent public hearing on the special zoning district, think the Gates Circle plan does enough to regulate further development occurring in and around the Canterbury Woods senior housing project being built in the Gates Circle district.

The Council ended up tabling the measure.

Seems like more work to be done.

Looking to the  future
When the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Board -- aka the city's "soft" Control Board -- reviewed Buffalo's 2016-17 budget Wednesday, board Chairman R. Nils Olsen Jr. praised the city's spending plan, but also sounded some warnings toward the future. Most of the revenues in the city budget, including state aid, he noted, are generally flat. He suggested the state University of New York, a tax-exempt entity expanding its footprint in Buffalo, be asked at some point to provide payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to the City of Buffalo.

"You see this enormous building going on," said Olsen, a former UB Law School dean. "It's good to see the state university in particular getting involved. But there has to be a way for the state university to recognize the fact that the cost of services is being borne by the city."

Olsen also repeated his concern that Buffalo won't reach its potential until city schools improve.

Doctors and other highly educated people coming to work at the Medical Campus, Olsen said, aren't likely to raise families in Buffalo unless there is confidence in city schools. More likely, he said, these people will work in Buffalo, then end their workday by driving to their homes in suburban communities with top school systems.

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