1/11/2007

Boarding Control, please!

When I was a child one of my favorite stories was The Emperor's New Cloths by Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson followed closely by the tale of Blind men and the Elephant. Well both tales have their contemporary corollary here on the City's near East side.
Despite the the immediate 30m in public investment for the new permanent home of Performing Arts High School, the largest residential property owner - surrounding the school is Bethel Community Development an organization headed by Rev. Richard Stenhouse who just happens to be the Secretary/Treasurer of Buffalo's Control Board - aka, Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority. Pictured in the close-up satellite image of the neighborhood, you will quickly notice the proximity of these houses to Performing Arts HS new home and Rev. Stenhouse's church Bethel AME is also home to Bethel Headstart. Stenhouse heads up the Jeremiah Partnership, too.
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See flickr slideshow
featuring open doors, broken windows and falling debris!
All of these houses - 1518 Michigan, 1516 Michigan, 1512 MIchigan, 1504 Michigan and 121 Woodlawn Avenue - are wide open and riddled with building code violations. 121 Woodlawn (blue house) underwent rehab a few years back and has been sitting here, wide open for months. The other four, along Michigan, were supposed to be demolished a year or so ago to make room for a new series of row houses. Wrote about that, here. The project wasn't funded. Jim Rayburg, a lcoal architect of recent Coe Place history has offered to re-do the facades of these row houses and provide for a more period look that's lined up with three other clusters of row buildings in the neighborhood. Here's the City's property listing for the Michigan Avenue spots.

Next step. An examination into the sources of funding for Bethel's projects. Two: a closer look at one of the new houses Bethel built recently - Problems in Vinyl Land? Here's some additional photos - here and here - over on Ada Place of another abandoned Bethel house.

This should be interesting...Like the Emperor parading around without the knowledge of exisitng reality or like in the Blind men tale...only seeing part of the whole...Bethel's role in various aspects of this neglect will be examined. Oh, I walk the neighborhood at least twice/week. Before Christmas there were an additional 3 properties around the school construction site that were wide open...biggest number of totally wide open houses here in this part of Buffalo in the last 10 years. The owner, City of Buffalo. Think by the first day of classes at the new 30m Performing Arts School students will be looking out the window at this mess where Byron gave himself an A. Students, set your sites higher, please...

Meanwhile Rev. Stenhouse can be reached at 886-1650 over at the Bethel AME Church. I'm sure he'd like to hear from you. I don't get call backs. I've been moving their grass for the past few summers, too at some vacant parcels near by. No more...

Make sure to check out Marc Odien's - from Western New York Media.net - story, he followed me around the other day with his video camera. And just posted about they story, too - right here.

Related news: abandoned houses around schools...here, here and a longer piece - School House Project.
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Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
Writing the CityWoodlawn Row Housesfaqmy flickr

5 comments:

MJ² said...

Like those posters with Pataki's head on them, we need some cheap black and white posters of Brown with an A+ on it that we can stick on these houses surrounding schools.

fix buffalo said...

mj...

You are giving BB more credit than he gave himself! He gave himself an "A" for the first year.

I know...word is that he's looking to improve...so your A+ might be spot on for later this year, at the rate we are going just a half-mile from his residence on Blaine Avenue!

Anonymous said...

"The Emperor's New Clothes" is one of the most subversive stories ever written for children.

Buffalo has a few naked kings, courtiers, princes, and princesses.

Mike in WNY said...

Glad to see you're back in action pointing out blight. The sad thing is that this even needs to be done. I guess vacant, boarded up houses can't vote.

Michele said...

Extremely disturbing news!