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TURN TOWERS INTO AN ARCHITECTURE MUSEUM

It has been an exciting year for economic development in Western New York, especially with the debates over future and ongoing "mega projects," such as the Peace Bridge, the Buffalo Zoo, the waterfront, Rich Stadium, the Darwin Martin House, a new convention center and the Cobblestone District.

There is even some movement toward regional economic cooperation and planning.

One cannot help but feel a growing sense of optimism and pride, as leaders begin focusing on what we can do, rather than what we can't.

With this said, there is a project I would like to see brought back into the debate: the restoration of the H.H. Richardson towers and complex at the Buffalo PsychiatricCenter.

I envision it as "The Museum of American Architecture." Imagine strolling through the complex, with each section arranged chronologically (from the development of American architecture with Native American designs to the present), then boarding a tour bus to visit some of the most historically significant designs in the country.

We know that Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" in Pennsylvania attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, so it is not unreasonable to expect a similar influx of visitors with the restoration of the Darwin Martin complex.

An architecture museum would give those visitors a reason to stay a few days, and it could also attract related conferences.

In addition, a building and project of this significance to the city, region, state and country should be able to leverage local, state and federal funding.

At the turn of the last century, a vibrant Buffalo grew into what became known as the "Queen City." One hundred years later, at the turn of the century, let us continue to build on the imagination of these grand projects so that we may experience our city's renaissance.

TED SCHMIDT Buffalo

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