Foundation: ‘We want a seat at the table to plan our future!’
Petition Calls for Moratorium on Development in Area Until Inclusive Master Plan is Formulated
Community organizers from the Fruit Belt Housing Task Force and McCarley Gardens Housing Development have launched a petition drive calling on the Common Council and Mayor Brown to declare a moratorium “on any and all future developments in the McCarley Gardens/Fruitbelt Community area until a Master Plan is developed by a body which will include a majority of residents, property owners and tax payers of the McCarley Gardens/Fruitbelt Community. Such a master plan will address the impact on the sewer system, traffic, density, recreational facilities and type of property, to ensure that the McCarley Gardens/Fruitbelt Area doesn’t become overcrowded and effect the health, safety, livabilityand environmental concerns of citizens are properly met.”
“It is apparent that planning for the new Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus has been conducted without appropriate input from the residents, property owners and tax payers of the McCarley Gardens/Fruitbelt Community, who have lived, worked and invested in this historic neighborhood for decades, and who intend to remain as such, and to ensure the success of this community it is vital to recognize the needs ofthese stakeholders,” the peition continued.
Last week a letter was sent to the University at Buffalo Foundation in reference to issues related to plans to move the UB medical school from it’s current location across from the VA Hospital into the downtown medical corridor near Buffalo General. And although the building of new homes is underway to house residents of McCarley Gardens, not everyone is happy. Organizers are also calling for more inclusion of community members on a panel set up by the UB Foundation and St. John, as well as future meetings of that panel being open to the public and press. The following correspondence addressing these concerns to Francis M. Letro, chair of the UB Foundation Inc., was signed by Veronica Hemphill-Nichols of the Fruit Belt organization and Lorraine Chambley of McCarley Gardens:
“Dear Mr. Letro:
“This is a follow up to our request made during the University at Buffalo, St. John Baptist Church conversation with the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Community on Economic Opportunity held on December 13, 2012.
“The purpose of the meeting was to open dialogue between all parties; UB, St. John and Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens residents (the public). The goal being, to find ways to increase the University’s presence in the fruit Belt area.
“Our problem was that there was an agreement entered between you, The University at Buffalo Foundation, Inc. and St. John. The agreement required that a panel be appointed. The problem was that none of the members of the panel has ever lived, worked or played in the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens community!
“We requested that the panel be dissolved and a new panel convened that would include neighborhood representatives at a ratio of two to one. We requested that a copy of the contract be made available to us so that we would know the terms, conditions, timetable and goals. Also, we asked for a copy of UB’s development plans for this site.
“We requested that an answer be given to us by January 3, 2013.
“We haven’t heard from you and thought that maybe communications broke down and you haven’t received our request because of the holidays. We ask that you would let us know your answer as soon as possible, and that all future meetings concerning the Fruit Belt and McCarley Gardens communities be open to the public and the press.”
At press time the community organizations were still waiting for a response.