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Letter: Rehabbing old houses is better than razing them

Rehabbing old houses is better than razing them

I’ve read with interest several News articles and comments on the pluses and minuses associated with tearing down and building anew in Buffalo.

I was fortunate many years ago to meet an architect who worked on reconstruction of Berlin after the war and a few other urban renewal projects. He stressed that bulldozing a neighborhood never worked. But restoring the infrastructure of the neighborhood most always did. That does not preclude adding a few appropriate structures, as long as the flavor of the community is preserved.

A sad example is what the state Department of Transportation did to Humboldt Parkway years ago. If we were to cover the Kensington Expressway and replant the parkway, the community would return.

The same goes for Delaware Park. Bury the Scajaquada and restore the park. Neighborhoods require a mix of people. No one really knows the tipping point when development will destroy the community.

Arguing about saving houses is futile when it is more important to fight to preserve the cohesion of the community.

So far we appear to be trying to listen to those who value the character of our communities. We cannot save every structure, but we can assure that the best ones are relevant and not ever viewed as out of place on their blocks.

Charles Zernentsch


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