To Demo or Not to Demo...

While the demolition of existing structures on the City's East side has moved forward in erratic fits and starts like a crack whore trying to score, there are a number of buildings here on the City's near East Side that are just crying out for the right combination of ownership and tenant mix. Recently a new East Side blog, Broadway Fillmore Alive featured a story about one of my (not so) favorite City leaders and presumed East Side resident, Common Council President David Franzcyk. It's all about trying to squeeze more money for demolitions and totally failing to get at the the underlying causes of neighborhood decline.

Notice the total absence in his resolution of specific number of residences that are demo worthy. I mean can these demoltions really cost exactly 10K. What I'm getting at is that no one really has the arms around this problem of abandonement and demolition. The City's Fire Dept. has one set of numbers relating to the number of abandoned houses in Buffalo, the Dept of Assesment another number and the folks on the City Hall's third floor in the Dept of Inpections are doing triage with all the resources they can muster. Yet, if we were serious about the problem of abandonement and demolition the City would be going after demolition payments and collecting on overdue court ordered demolition fees. Long on generalities. Short on specifics.

Two rather innovative alternatives to using increasingly larger amounts of tax dollars to pay for demolitions might include:
  • The establishment of a city owned demolition crew. They could use these industrial sized chippers, shreders and grinders to reduce the landfill cost of the resulting debris
  • Establish a program that's been kicked around - "Deconstruct Buffalo" and reuse old building materials. Many readers of this blog are advocates of this approach.
A year ago, 242 Koons Avenue was demolished. City tax payers footed the bill. Call Franzcyk's office 851-4200 and see if any payments have been collected. Just ask the simple question, "why not?" (The house's former owners are Bay Area, CA investors with the means to write a check.) And then there's the total idiocy of the City taking possession of a three old burn-out at 198 Glenwood Avenue at last year's City tax auction. A warrant is still outstanding in housing court for the former owner. Now, guess who's paying for that demolition. I mean why not go after the former owner any longer? Of course there is the truly sad case of 2 Girard Place. Sickens me...and the history of the City's ownership of 669 Genesee Street is even worse. No marketing plan...just a 500K demolition bill waiting to hit the Control Board.

And while David Franzyck has represented the City's most blighted neighborhood for decades, what has been done to attract private investment to the area and reverse the downward "Detroitization" of Polonia? One word, K-mart!

More reasonable City leaders have told me that David Franczyk is the best Councilman the Delaware District never had. In any case he's spent far too much time trying to save the forest forty miles away in Perrysburg, NY than he has taking care of Broadway Fillmore, his district. Read all about here...it's the story you won't see anywhere else.

The problem of abandonment and demolition is getting worse by the week here on the City's East Side. And if we keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, well you get the idea.

Come on over...drive or walk around the neighborhoods here on the City's East side and see for yourself.
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