Rod asked me to pass along this message to fixBuffalo readers...
At 194 East Utica Street in Buffalo, New York stands a grand Victorian home built in 1900. The city planning board sees another vacant lot in the future of 194 but our vision is very different.
We see a vibrant community space that brings the neighborhood together and energizes this vital corridor between east and west. We see a restored parlor providing space for block club meetings, parenting classes, and a homework club. We see some of 21 vacant lots immediately surrounding 194 providing nutritious food and an essential connection with nature for neighborhood children and families. We see a renovated kitchen being used to teach single mothers how to prepare quick and healthy meals for their children. We see seniors from the nearby senior center establishing a presence in the streets while beautifying the neighborhood and getting exercise in the gardens. We see inexpensive housing for community development volunteers and families in transition. We see young men and women learning a trade with hands on participation in a major renovation project. We see a place of hope and transformational development rising from a glorious past, through a challenging present into a bright future.This vision is not only possible but with your support it is within our grasp. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Tomorrow afternoon Rod and I are back at UB School of Architecture and Planning. We've been invited to address two of Samina Raja's classes. The goal here is to include UB students in various aspects of the planning and promotion of this project as a living laboratory of sorts - a working and living space. All sorts of discussion about grants and developing a sustainable model for other people to follow.
What's amazing is that 194 East Utica is right in the middle of 50m of public investment - see map - in the arts and education in this part of Buffalo - Artspace, Merriweather Library and the new home of Performing Arts HS. The African American Cultural Center is just around the corner, too!