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Uptown University Heights marked its first birthday Tuesday by kicking off a project to better define what Buffalo's upper Main Street is about.

"Our commercial strip is not adequately reflecting the university or the makeup of its residents," Marilyn Cappellino, a director of the group, said during a meeting in Gloria J. Parks Community Center at Main and Heath streets.

"How can we capture the market here and serve residents by energizing Main Street?" she asked. "How can we increase pedestrian traffic?"

To do this, the group has enlisted Hiro Hata, a professor of architecture at the University at Buffalo. This semester, he has dedicated a graduate course to address that question, and 11 students are circulating a questionnaire to help assess what the University District means to people.

Among the questions:

What is most distinctive about the neighborhood?

What would you change, and why?

What do you hope will never change?

Coming up or down Main Street, at what point do you feel you have entered the University District?

Students told members they will present their findings during a board meeting early next year.

The neighborhood-based group of businesses and residents is seeking to rejuvenate the stretch of Main from La Salle Avenue to UB's South Campus.

President JoAnne Hudecki said Uptown has three dozen members and hopes to raise that to 60 by the end of 1997.

She said the fall cleanup at Main and LaSalle will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 18, when residents are asked to come and pitch in. A Neighborhood Matching Fund of $1,400 will pay for landscaping, benches and planters.

Lauren Rosa, representing University District Council Member Kevin J. Helfer, gave the details of another matching grant: Alan H. DeLisle, commissioner of community development, has pledged $5,000 in block grant funds toward a $10,000 outlay for marketing, neighborhood cleanup and outreach by Uptown.

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