In his 13th State of the City address, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown announced Friday a new community policing effort – Police And Community Together , or PACT – that aims to foster better understanding and communication between residents and the police.
The mayor also said the city has negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement with Flora California Prime to provide resources to fund additional community policing initiatives and implement best practices in strengthening the relationship between community and police.
Flora, a cannabis health and wellness manufacturing company, plans to open a complex on 47 acres of land at several sites on Ship Canal Parkway and Laborers Way that would include 1.25 million square feet for cultivation, production and research. That would include an extraction laboratory to take the oil out of the plant and produce balms, creams, pills, transdermal patches and other health and wellness products.
Flora will also conduct product development and house its New York corporate office on the new campus. In all, the company estimates that it could employ between 500 and 1,000 people locally.
Brown's State-of-the- City address was held at the Buffalo Convention Center before some 1,900 people, who ate lunch, then listened as Brown reviewed what he views as his administration's accomplishments, then laid out his plans for the upcoming year.
The mayor announced a new initiative called the ROLL program – Replace Old Lead Lines – modeled after a "successful" program in Pittsburgh.
"We are told by the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal that Buffalo has some of the oldest underground water lines in the entire state, many of which are lead. This program will replace lead lines that are broken or damaged in order to prevent lead from infiltrating a home's water system," he said.
In addition, Brown announced:
- Douglas Jemal, the Washington-based owner of One Seneca Tower, has agreed to purchase the former Buffalo police headquarters at Franklin and Court streets, which he will then convert into apartments.
- Gigi's restaurant will reopen Feb. 25 at the Northland Workforce Training Center.
- Shelby Young, is being named the Buffalo Fire Department's first black female lieutenant. Young first joined the department in 2000, Brown said.
- The city is purchasing a new $760,000 fire rescue vehicle as part of his administration's efforts to modernize the Buffalo Fire fleet.
"Since I have been mayor, we've completely replaced the fleet at a cost of over $18 million," Brown said
Brown also recognized individuals and organizations for making significant contributions to the city, such as Jody Lomeo, president and chief executive officer at Kaleida Health, for their contribution to transform the city's Management Information Systems department, including the donation of hundreds of tablets for city departments and community centers for youth.