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DEVELOPER SET TO PICK UP TAB FOR BEACH BLAST

Free lunch and tropical drinks. Door prizes. All this plus music featuring Frank Sinatra's greatest hits.

It's all part of the "Free Senior Summer Blast" at Sunset Bay Beach Club on the Lake Erie shoreline.

But this is no ordinary beach party. This summertime bash is sponsored by the company pushing the $80 million Lakeview project, one of Buffalo's premier development efforts.

Roizman Development is picking up the tab for a day of fun and sun Monday for senior citizens living at the Lakeview Homes public housing project.

For critics, it's one more indication of how developer Israel Roizman is trying to buy support for the demolition and redevelopment of Lakeview, one of Buffalo's oldest public housing developments.

"I'm going to go, give him dirty looks and eat his food," said Catherine Graham, a tenant who opposes the project.

Others are less critical of Roizman's intentions but agree that, ultimately, he wants to win over tenants opposed to the Lower West Side project.

"You can't buy my vote," said Louise Gray, vice president of the Lakeview Tenant Council. "But I also think he's sincere about doing something for the tenants. He's a businessman, and he's doing his thing."

Tenant opposition, especially among senior citizens afraid of losing their homes, has been a stumbling block for Roizman.

Supporters say the party is just one more attempt by Roizman at educating tenants about the benefits of HOPE VI, the federal program driving Lakeview's conversion.

"I tried to do something good, but obviously it's not good enough," said Roizman, the Philadelphia-based developer chosen by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority.

Roizman said the impetus for the party came from a tenant leader who asked him to do something special for Lakeview's older residents.

Roizman's development plans call for most of Lakeview to be torn down and about 200 of its public housing units moved into the neighborhood around it. Instead of high-rises and row houses, tenants will live in single-family homes and doubles.

The goal behind the "scattered site" approach is to lessen the concentration of poverty on the Lower West Side and transform the neighborhood.

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