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Letter: Someone chose not to get East Side residents’ opinions

How lovely to read about $50 million sent to Albany through our taxes coming back to Buffalo to use on the East Side. And how interesting to read from the developer perspective but not one word from the resident communities, the nonprofit activist organizations, and preservationists on how best to use this money.

We on the East Side contribute by paying income, payroll, sales, and property taxes. We are home and business owners, workers and consumers who contribute. Therefore, we deserve a say in how this $50 million will be spent.

Community benefit agreements need to be in place as to how private developers will spend this public money.

A nonprofit trustworthy organization such as Preservation Buffalo Niagara should oversee a preservation fund so homeowners on the East Side can do the necessary repairs and upgrades of their homes, especially those designated as historic landmarks.

Opportunity should be provided so neglected properties can be purchased from out of town limited liability companies and the communities can develop historic landmarked buildings before demolition by neglect occurs. Developers need to hold listening sessions in our community and not “this is what we are going to do” sermons.

If residents chose to remain ignorant and silent, developers will bulldoze us. We have heard the same promises for so long: affordable housing, new jobs; what we need to be wary of is what is not being said.

We have an opportunity for collaboration and cooperation that will improve the quality of life by the people for the people on Buffalo’s East Side. Let’s not waste another opportunity.

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols

Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens

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