By Jill Terreri
Preservation Buffalo Niagara will hold a news conference at noon today on the steps of City Hall in an effort to pressure the Common Council to designate the Trico complex a local landmark, which would give the city's Preservation Board more say in any proposal to demolish it.
The Council is set to vote tomorrow on Trico's landmark status. Ellicott Council Member Darius Pridgen's district includes the building, and other lawmakers will likely take their cues from Pridgen. Pridgen did not say last week how he will vote, but noted that many from the neighborhood who spoke during Tuesday's Legislation Committee were not in favor of saving the building.
UPDATE: During a brief interview this afternoon, Pridgen said there will be a vote on the landmark designation tomorrow, but he would not say how he would vote.
In a separate interview today, Matthew K. Enstice, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, which owns development rights to Trico, said the Medical Campus is not in favor of landmarking the building, but is willing to work with developers and preservationists on re-using the former factory.
William Joyce, chairman of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus's board of directors, said last week that the board was in favor of demolition. The medical campus has development rights to the former winshield wiper factory and said that a re-use isn't feasible, based on the opinion of local and out-of-town developers.
Preservationists have said that potential developers have not been adequately solicited. They also maintain that the building meets seven out of nine criteria to be designated a local landmark and that meeting only one is required under the local law.
“It’s up to the Common Council to really know
the law and know what is relevant in a conversation, and what isn’t relevant,” said Jason Wilson of Preservation Buffalo Niagara.
Issues such as whether the building can be re-used are not relevant to a decision on whether to landmark a building under the preservation law, Wilson said.
The Council meets at 2 p.m. today in Room 1417 for a caucus meeting to review tomorrow's agenda, posted below.
Lawmakers are expected to discuss the use of U.S. HUD funds with the Office of Strategic Planning, which administers the grants. New oversight rules, including greater involvement by the comptroller and Common Council, have changed the way the grants flow through City Hall.
They will also review support for a football stadium and entertainment complex at the Outer Harbor, which a top official with Outer Harbor landowner Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority said is going nowhere.
And in case you missed it from today's Buffalo News, News Staff Reporter Susan Schulman reviewed former Brown administration official Timothy Wannamaker's lavish spending of federal anti-poverty funds, some of which was legal. She also recounts the run-around she got to obtain the records.