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New Italian Cultural Center gets $300,000 in grants

After sitting vacant for almost a decade, plans are moving forward for the new Italian American Cultural Center in the former home of the North Park Branch Library located at the corner of Delaware and Hertel avenues.

State Sen. Chris Jacobs and Assemblyman Sean Ryan each secured $150,000 state grants to remove lead and asbestos from the landmark building.

The former library branch was built in 1928 and was once a bustling community cornerstone. It was closed and its collection moved in April 2008 because of asbestos and lead paint concerns. The building has been vacant and boarded up since then, and for years, city officials had been trying to figure out what to do with it.

Last month, Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo was selected to redevelop the city-owned building into a cultural center that will be open to everyone next year.

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