Plans for the $1.5 million buyout of Hickory Woods homeowners, by all accounts, appears reasonable and Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown's administration should endorse it.
The plan has downsides, but it's probably the best that can be managed and deserves support. Hickory Woods is the contaminated subdivision at Abbott Road and South Park Avenue whose homeowners spent years fighting City Hall. Anthony M. Masiello spent the better part of his last years in office trying to work out a solution. To embittered homeowners, it was too little too late. Others just wanted a reasonable solution, and this is far better than previous offers.
The structure of the deal involves a $1.5 million compensation package for residents. The buyout, structured by Masiello's administration, promises residents that they will recoup the original purchase price if they remain in the house for two years. In other words, there is a chance to break even, thereby providing an incentive to purchase at the original price. Homeowners choosing to stay will be guaranteed the actual purchase price plus the accrued subsidy.
The heartache and anguish of Hickory Woods homeowners and others in similar unfortunate situations can never be exaggerated. Lives have literally been torn apart by sickness and internal strife. It's hard to imagine how they've dealt with the pressure. The interests of homeowners, buyers and the entire city demands close monitoring and attention to the details.