I would like to commend the administration of the University at Buffalo and directors of the University Community Initiative on their proposal to improve the UB South Campus and its surrounding neighborhoods. However, I think one additional component may be more effective: a first-rate community school.
Recent News articles have highlighted the fact that a desire for better educational opportunities has driven many young families out of the city. Families are the foundation of any strong neighborhood. Their pride of ownership and concern for each other's welfare motivate them to become involved in a community and its problems.
Families are not leaving the city to find better housing bargains in the suburbs -- quite the opposite. Families are buying more expensive properties in the hope of a better education for their children. By rehabilitating area properties we are addressing a symptom of urban flight, but not a root cause.
A world-class community school located on the UB South Campus would create a neighborhood asset that would attract families to make a long-term investment in our community. The fact that UB's educational programs are already located on the South Campus makes this program an excellent opportunity for real-world experiences for UB teaching students.
The UB campus is rich with knowledge in languages, art, math and music. The University Heights community is a potpourri of ethnic and cultural diversity. A better union of these entities would benefit them both. Who knows, the UB staff might also return to the neighborhood.
If we were to build this "UB of primary education," families would buy these houses, repair them and fill them with goods from local merchants. The neighborhood would take care ofitself. UB could then remain focused on what it does so well, education!
Daniel J. Nemoyer Buffalo