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A diverse, walkable community

While the district is primarily a residential area, it also is home to the South Campus of the University at Buffalo and has two commercial districts, Bailey Avenue and Main Street. There are several parks and an involved, diverse population, which, according to Buffalo Common Council Member Bonnie Russell, has increased by 5,000 people since the last census. Housing in the district ranges from developments to single-family homes.

*What makes it unique:

Its diversity. Because of the campus, there is a large student population. According to several residents, it's not unusual to see the students shoveling driveways for the district's seniors. It also has several active community groups, including block clubs and crime watch neighborhoods. It's a walkable community.

*Where to go:

There are many stores, shops and restaurants for residents to enjoy, including O'Connell's Clothing, Ming Cafe, Shango's and the Lake Effect Diner. There are several parks in the district -- including Shoshone, Roosevelt and McCarthy parks -- as well as Linear Park, a small "pocket" park. There is also a full-service supermarket, Budwey's, in the University Heights area.

*A person you should know:

Cassandra Hayes, known to just about everyone in her neighborhood as Candy, moved to the University Heights area of the district in 1975. Retired from her work as a medical technician at Roswell Park, Hayes spends much of her time looking out for her neighbors as chairwoman of the Heath Street Block Club, which she co-founded.

>Q: How did you get involved in community service?

A: After I retired, I noticed the area had been changing somewhat. There had been a few burglaries. I realized we really needed to know each other. Cheryl Rybicki saw a need for improvement at the same time I did, and we got together and started this block club for the protection of the neighborhood about four to five years ago. It's just better that you know your neighbors.

>Q: How has the neighborhood changed over the years?

A: It's improving. Young families are moving into the district. They've made the choice to live in the city and to live in this area. They plan on staying and raising their children here. That's what keeps a neighborhood vital.

>Q: What do you see happening in the district in the future?

A: For a while, people were getting lackadaisical. Now we've kind of spruced up. And we're not running to the suburbs. It's just a very, very good place to live.

email: hjones@buffnews.com