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Out-of-town experts spent the last two days preparing for a community forum that will produce a blueprint for getting more people to live downtown.

"I hope we can create a climate of investment and opportunity in the downtown," said Alan Mallach, an expert on municipal housing from New Jersey. He's part of a Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team that the American Institute of Architects has dispatched to Buffalo at the request of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Hotel rooms, cars, office staff and thousands of other details must be worked out before the community participates fromMarch 22 to March 26 in a charette -- an intensive effort to complete something before a deadline.

On the morning of March 24, a Saturday, the public is invited to give opinions and comments about what they like about living downtown and what they want. The time and location have yet to be announced but information will be posted at Then, a team of 10 out-of-state experts will sit down and begin brainstorming.

That Sunday, they'll begin writing a 75-page report. Probably between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday, with sleep deprivation setting in, they'll finish the document detailing the best strategies and locations to jump start residential development downtown. They'll rush it to a printer and present the findings to the public later that day.

"It will show what are the steps that get you the best bang for the buck to start changes downtown," said Chuck Redmon, an architect and urban designer from Massachusetts.

In subsequent months a local committee will follow up on the report. The 24 members of that committee are:

Jacquelyn Ross Brown and Thomas Scime of the Buffalo School District.

Deborah Chernoff and Joanne Loughry of Buffalo Place Inc.

Thomas Dearing of the county Environment and Planning Department.

Don Erb, senior associate director of housing at the University at Buffalo and a former president of the Greater Buffalo Building Owners and Managers Association.

Maria Gambacorta of Working for Downtown.

Laura Gang, of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

Andres Garcia, Kaleida Health vice president.

Charles Grieco, an attorney representing the New Millennium Group.

Jeremy Jacobs Jr. and Wendy Watkins of Delaware North Cos.

Celeste Lawson, executive director of the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County.

Brenda McDuffie, president of the Buffalo Urban League.

Joe McIvor of the Niagara Frontier Builders Association.

Matthew Meier of Hamilton Houston Lownie Architects.

Richard Morrisroe, managing director of Heart of the City Neighborhoods.

Patricia Pitts, executive director of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership's Charter Schools Initiative.

Gus Pratchett, representing the Buffalo Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Laura Roberts, project manager of WNY Works.

Sister Denise Roche, president of D'Youville College.

Laurence Rubin, county commissioner of environment and planning.

Robert Shibley, a professor of architecture and planning at the University at Buffalo and director of Downtown Buffalo 2002.

Gerald Strickland Jr., past president of Buffalo chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Chuck Thomas of the city's Department of Planning.

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