click the images to see the "demolition by neglect" of the Transfiguration Church on Buffalo's east-side
Journey to Avoid Housing Court, Part II
We only need a building "this big"
As I wrote yesterday in response to the Bishop Kmiec's plan to "de-commission" church property - Journey to Avoid Housing Court, Part I - I openly asked why Bishop Kmiec gets a "free pass" in Buffalo's Housing Court. I know, a Polish Bishop...Polish Housing Court Judge...and Polish Common Council President...but come on folks this is not 14th century europe...where the Catholic Church, was immune from criticism and beyond the reach of political transformation. BN doesn't even raise the Housing Court issue...I wonder why?
Many of the diocese's smallest parishes are in city neighborhoods with tiny Catholic populations, including nine parishes with fewer than 300 registered families and 13 parishes with fewer than 200 families.
I mean, the BN quoted Common Council President David Franczyk as being worried. Well, David...being worried is not enough. We are expecting more. How 'bout a plan? Not like your recent one, please...But a plan that will hold the Bishop Kmiec accountable for the buildings they are planning on leaving behind. For starters you might want to force the Bishop's hand by denying building permits for "new church construction" - the new McChurch planned for Eagle and Hickory - untill they post a bond for the repair and maintence of the property they intend to dump and flip to unsuspecting congregations as they did in 1993. That worry shit just doesn't cut it anymore Mr. Council President.
And then alittle further down in the article we learn that the Catholic Church is a good corporate citizen.
Then we learn, again that the Immaculate Conception Church on Elmwood needs $750,000 in repairs. Right...and Mr. Keenan when I checked with the Department of Inspections this aftenoon they have no record of you or Bishop Kmiec filing for a building permit to correct these structural problems with the Immaculate Conception (no pun intended...I think). I'll check the permit office next week, too.
The diocese vows to keep on top of all its property. "The diocese is a good corporate citizen," spokesman Kevin A. Keenan said.
Let's see, who could we call? Hillary and Schumer seemed to be of some help with turning around the BRAC commission's finding for the Niagara Air Base last week. I'll call tomorrow...
Here's the August 29, 2005 report. Plenty of cool things on the calendar for September. Check the report for additional details. For example:
- Tuesday September 13th - the
, EPIC Building 1000 Main Street(between North and Allen Streets) – monthly meeting of Partners for a Livable Western New York.
- Tuesday September 20th - the
, – the next “Smart Growth is Smart Business” series presentation, entitled “Creating New Suburban Neighborhoods of Lasting Value.” The presenter will be Craig Lewis, a planner from Nichols School . The Charlotte, NC area was recently cited as being perhaps Charlotte ’s leader in new urbanist developments. America
No Plans to Sell 79 Oakland Place
While many eyes were focused on the findings of the BRAC Commission last week as it related to the future fate of the Niagara Falls Airforce Base, another re-alignment commission held it's first meeting in
Today's BN article...
"Journey to Avoid Housing Court" Part I
Bishop Kmiec was leading a “grass roots” commission composed of 24 selected and I presume highly influential people towards the eventual downsizing of the Buffalo Diocese’s real-estate portfolio. If past experience is to be our guide...brace yourself
While Bishop Kmiec continues to reside at 79 Oakland Place, in the most expensive (highest assesment) residence in the City of Buffalo, it's helpful to remember what happens to former Catholic Church property when it's "flipped" to unsuspecting and irresponsible owners on Buffalo's east-side.
We’ve experienced this before here in
Years ago the entire campus – school, rectory, convent and church – known as the
If you haven’t seen the video of Discovery Channel’s recent “urbex” venture (couresty of BuffaloRising and WNYmedia.net) in the
Not being catholic, I’d really never thought about the this...if anyone could verify this sort of claim…I think it would be sort of cool. Ok. I’m just trying to figure out how to make sure the place doesn’t collapse under Katrina’s wrath or this winter’s snow. And if the place is still a catholic church…perhaps Bishop Kmiec might be able to sell his residence on Oakland Place…move to any of the diocese’s abandoned rectories…and use the proceeds to repair the place…just wondering.
Look for "Journey to Avoid Housing Court" Part II from the Buffalo News on Monday.
I’ll be tracking this "journey through faith and grace" and compare how other Catholic dioceses across the country deal with down-sizing, “demolition by neglect” and housing court. I’ll call this archive…
You have to check out Brian's main site, Interstitial Photography. He will take you around the world with his talent but make sure to check out the link to his work about Buffalo Exploration. Once there you will quickly be guided to :
I take photographs to try and capture something most people miss or ignore. Beauty that is in plain site, but so often goes unnoticed. For the past few years that has translated into abandoned buildings. What attracts me to them is how they once were so important to so many, people spend their entire lives working in a given factory or office, yet through some twist of fate those once vital buildings become eyesores, blights on the landscape.Brian will be in Buffalo during the Elmwood Arts Festival tomorrow. Make sure to check out his work. From a recent Live Journal entry, Brian writes...
I'm sure I've told just about everyone about this weekend, but just in case, I'm going to have a booth at the Elmwood Arts Festival this weekend where I'll be selling
my soulprints. Last year they had more than 100,000 people attend so this could be really good :). I have about 100 matted 5x7 prints, 60 matted 8x10 prints, 15 full framed prints, and 15 limited edition super special real live 35mm hand developed hand proccessed blah blah prints. It's gonna be a wild weekend heheh.
Seems like if we really want to avoid the look and feel of another suburban style Post Office in a neighborhood close to you, I would encourage you to look at those meeting minutes and at a minimum e-mail some of the key players in the decision making chain of command.
Unless you want to see something like this...on Main Street!
Related Post: 14209 Re-Location Archive
This just in from Albany...and here's the full text of that annoucement...
State to kick in $11M for Artspace project
New York state will pitch in $11 million in funding from various sources to spur development of the planned Artspace project on Buffalo's Main Street.
The announcement was made Thursday by Gov. George Pataki's office.
The money will be awarded through the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal to create a mixed-use building complete with commercial space, artist lofts, and housing.
"We are delighted that the Buffalo project has received this award," said a statement from L. Kelley Lindquist, president of Minneapolis-based Artspace Projects Inc. "This project has been blessed with great leadership from both the City of Buffalo and the State of New York. Thanks to that leadership, we can now proudly envision a permanent and affordable home for working artists and arts organizations on Main Street in Buffalo."
The entire project is pegged at $15.5 million, according to officials. It calls for the rehabilitation of the former Buffalo Electric Vehicle building and the construction of six townhouse-style buildings on adjacent vacant land.
Make sure to check out the Artspace Archive for more information about Artspace and their other projects around the country. If you want to know just where this project is located in relation to other developments in the city, make sure to check out this neighborhood map.
Merry Pranksters decided to "save the Perrysburg Forest."
David Franczyk - Preserver of the Status Quo
Scott Cannon, the attorney representing Tom Trathen, was supposed to be in Cattaragus County Supreme Court in Little Valley, NY this week. In what is amounting to a Herculean task of prying loose David Franczyk's grip on the people of Perrysburg, City of Buffalo attorneys, successfully got this week's hearing for summary judgement adjourned over Cannon's "strenous objection." It's been re-scheduled for September 8th in Little Valley.
The Common Council voted to approve the release of the "reverter clause" with the following conditions.
- Sale proceeds to the City of Buffalo in the amount of $333,900;
- Transfer of property to the State of New York for sale to Trathen Co;
- Future transfer of some parcels by the State of New York to the Town of Perrysburg, as well as, the water system and necessary easements;
- Retaining reversionary interests in the balance of the property where the six (6) homes have been constructed;
- Prior written approval or disapproval from the City of Buffalo regarding the removal or demolition of the music dome in the dining hall.
click here for other images & slide show
And the ClarencePundit...aka BuffaloPundit, Alan Benenko has an "out of order" message coming up on his blog. Infact the entire WNYmedia.net has been taken hostage.
And while at least one Clarence resident is still figuring out compass directions as they relate to the direction of Buffalo's Main Street, I'd like to challenge readers of this blog to this question...
Where are these two houses located? Leave your best answer in the comments section under the photos. (Cynthia, I know you know...so you can't guess!)
Here's what 1219 Main Street looks like today.
This new building on Woodlawn Avenue (see map) is just a few blocks away from the new permanent home of Performing Arts High School. It will become an integral part of the Cold Spring Church's family ministry. One of the more interesting things about the construction of this church, aside from their ministry, it's the first time I've ever seen a construction crane in the 'hood on the City's east-side.
While checking out the highly informed and intelligent banter about development and planning issues in Buffalo I stumbled upon some pretty unique pics that I have never seen before.
click to enlarge
The middle pic of course is a pretty cool night time aerial view of Buffalo and Toronto.
While on the phone with the Dept. of Inspections last week I learned that there is NO inspection file for the former Immaculate Conception church building. This, despite Bishop Kmiec's announcement that the structure is being (has been, it's now closed) abandoned by the Buffalo Diocese. I believe Bishop Kmiec said the structure is in need of $800,000 of repairs.
Yet, I was left wondering if that might be a good defense -- "Church" is not made of buildings...it's the people --- in Buffalo's Housing Court in front of Judge Henry Nowak, if and when the Bishop is hauled in for failing to keep the Immaculate Conception Church Building in good repair.
Of course you can always visit the thread about Shanghai, Toronto and Chicago...if you have more time.
I lifted these pics from one of the posts about waterfront development. Take a look...
But when the city owns the property - even historically significant property - it can get away with bloody murder. After all, who’s going to stop them? Do you think the inspections department under Ray McGurn is going to do a whole hell of a lot to prompt its bosses to act?
A good deal of the blight on the East side is attributable to properties owned and neglected by the City itself. Would that there was a citizens’ inspection department that could inspect and violate the city on its own properties.
In addition to letting our hertitage rot away, we (and by “we” I mean all of us, not just the government we elected) should be equally ashamed that we’re permitting the construction of bland, cookie-cutter, mediocre buildings in their place.
I am naive in the ways of city planning but I don’t imagine the public has a direct say in what is approved for construction rather our electecd officials make those decisions, correct? Or are there public hearings at which we could voice our disapproval?
And another reader left behind a link to an op-ed piece by local Buffalo architect and urban good guy, Matthew W. Meier, that appeared in Tuesday's Buffalo News. It's really worth checking out in case you missed it.
click to enlarge
Chris checks my blog on a regular basis and wrote this...
By now I think google maps are creeping up in everyone's inbox but I wanted to make you aware of some very cool aerial photographs from 1927. The Erie Canal & terminus are in full view, pre 190, pre city hall, pre baseball park, Erie St is in its original configuration, Erie Basin Marina is non existent, Central Terminal is in the process of being built, the Psych Center property goes all the way to Scajaqueda Creek, the list of amazing views goes on.
He goes on to write...
I know its not really your blog's style, but when I was reading the post on Court Street it made me think of how Erie Street used to connect Main directly to the Marina before they put in Cathedral Park and effecitively cut off direct access from the CBD's core to the Marina. Plus I thought it could tied into how decisions that were thought to be revolutionary at the time have lead to the whole subject of your blog.
Chris thanks for the perspective. Keep checking back.
Related Post: 1300 Health Care Workers via BuffaloRising
Get Ready to Duke it Out & We've Been Duked, Really! via Fix Buffalo
Duke Realty (NYSE- DRE) shares closed up slightly on Tuesday at $31.45
Look at all the beautiful "suburban style" office parks Duke Realty has built.
I sited a Buffalo News article announcing the clean-up.
While this is a very good thing and the EPA has been doing fantastic work here in WNY with Superfund dollars, Buffalo News staff reporter John F. Bonfatti failed to mention that the current owner of the property is, yes...brace yourself...the City of Buffalo! Here's the official property description. There was no mention in Bonfatti's article of the environmental hazards and levels of contamination. Another example of loserville journalism.
click to enlarge
Related Post: Sweet Kleen(ed) 5/13/05
Here are the most current pics.
I started Fix Buffalo in October last year as a way of documenting and focusing on this little neighborhood in the Masten District. The 25 block neighborhood bounded by Main - Jefferson & East Ferry to East Utica is the primary focus of my blogging.
Here's the map that will help orient you to the Woodlawn Row Houses and this little corner of Masten.