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Surrounded by boarded-up buildings Monday, Mayor Anthony M. Masiello announced upcoming demolitions on the East Side's blighted May Street.

The demolitions are part of an ongoing campaign by the city that has seen thousands of abandoned and dilapidated homes torn down in recent years and more projected in the future.

"We're doing this so that the people who have lived on this street, love this street, want to raise their families on this street, can do that in a (quality) environment," Masiello said.

Sharon Twitty, president of the year-old May Street Block Club, said she was thrilled when she found out seven of the street's vacant buildings would be soon torn down, with another five also targeted.

"I told everybody," said Twitty. "When I found out, I just went up the street and told everybody."

Twitty's home is surrounded by four unoccupied buildings, three of them boarded up. She said she confines her grandchildren to a small, fenced-in patch of land in front of her house to keep them from going near the dangerous buildings.

Dorothy Hunter, also of May Street, shared Twitty's concern.

"We worry about the kids going in and getting hurt," she said.

Raymond K. McGurn, commissioner of the Department of Permit and Inspection Services, said the city had demolished 367 homes in the past 10 months using city and block grant money, with another 50 to 75 expected in the next two months. Privately funded demolitions could push the number over 500 during the 12-month period, he said.

Common Council President David Franczyk blamed the many boarded-up buildings on Buffalo's East and West sides on absentee ownership, suburban sprawl and abandonment.

"Before we can clean up the neighborhood, we have to take down those fire traps and eyesores," he said.


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