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Letter: Renovate, don’t demolish, McCarley Gardens homes

Renovate, don’t demolish, McCarley Gardens homes

Residents of McCarley Gardens are once again fighting to remain in their community. We work, pay rent and taxes, have served our country in our nation’s military, live quiet lawful lives and want to live in our community with dignity and in peace. We are good neighbors to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and see ourselves co-existing with progress around us.

Yet we are facing displacement again, this time under the guise of repairing well-built homes. This fraud is lauded by those who know nothing of us and care even less. McCarley Gardens’ units are not falling apart. HUD has an established program of inspections and evaluation and during the property’s most recent inspection, McCarley Gardens scored a value rating of 3.1 out of 5. This rating suggests that the housing is far from falling apart and the proposed $35 million overhaul is a bloated money grab.

At an October community event sponsored by the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force with Chicago researcher Stacey Sutton, a St. John Baptist Church member presented the proposal to demolish McCarley Gardens in order to rebuild. The audience exploded in opposition to the plan.

Real estate and construction research accepts that retrofitting is cost effective, less expensive and more environmentally sound than demolishing and rebuilding. McCarley Gardens deserves smart renovation, not demolition and rebuilding, and the residents know this.

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols

Founder, Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Housing Task Force

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