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Letter: Buffalo Billion II needs to focus on the East Side

Buffalo Billion II needs to focus on the East Side

It seems wrong that developers consistently exclude critical development needs in deprived, struggling communities. It is worse when government uses taxpayer funds to develop wealthy communities. I believe in the wisdom that any community is only as healthy as its poorest, most neglected neighborhoods.

So, I find it discouraging that the governor’s “ribbon-cutting-flash” for the Buffalo Billion II invests in extending our light-rail north through Amherst and south to the DL&W Terminal near Canalside.

This in lieu of an east-west Metro Rail line to serve the East Side, whose residents are much more likely to need and use mass transit.

Also, the link to the DL&W Terminal would indicate a decision has already been made not to restore our Central Terminal and relocate the Amtrak station there. This remarkable historic building in the heart of the East Side – if properly restored to offer entertainment, dining, retail and office space – would be both a hub for local and regional transit and an attractive destination itself. Central Terminal restoration is an opportunity for the Buffalo renaissance to include the East Side.

Thus the Buffalo Billion II is a double missed opportunity for economic development in the East Side. Our neighborhoods with the greatest need and potential will be sidetracked, again.

William E. Barnard


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