8/08/2007

Gone...

Riding home the other day, noticed that one of my favorite houses here in the Artspace Backyard neighborhood has been levelled. Dust.
IMG_9707
The City has owned 93 Riley for years. Click into the pic from June and you'll see the neglect on the utility pole. When I spoke with some neighbors, they were happy to see it gone. Side view.
IMG_9706
93 Riley - pic from June - part of a row of three little places, was structurally sound. Needed some love. Next day it's gone.
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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow... how incredibly stupid. this administration is so incompotent and their demolition policies are such a joke the whole department should be run out of town. i remember when i used to have hope for Tobe, now he's the Alicia Silverstone of the Steve Casey administration -- completely CLUELESS! what a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

Didn't take my Midtown post on BR very long to be obsolete. :-/

WCP

STEEL said...

It is odd. That house was not in bad condition. It even looks like it had a relatively new paint job. Why demo this when there are much worse

b said...

Questions for Anon 10:59 and others:

1. When I spoke with some neighbors, they were happy to see it gone.
What would you say to neighbors who are making effort and commitment on that block who are relieved to see it go? That you know much better than them? Are you willing to chase even them from that block in *hopes* that someone will buy and rehab that house?

2. Wasn’t the city accused of being CLUELESS for the exact opposite reason a few months ago where Firefighter Reed nearly lost life and did tragically lose limb in a city-owned vacant house whose demolition had been delayed?

3. Yes, ideally all rehab-able homes in Midtown in need of love as David put it would find that love. But love is hard to come by, hope is not a plan, and so just how many years are you saying the city is supposed to leave it standing, keep boarding (and re-boarding, and re-re-boarding, etc., etc., etc.) and risk intermittent days of unboarding and even worse another tragic arson? One more year? Two more? Five? Forever? That's not an attack on your view - it's a serious question. How long should it stand? And saying "until all worse buldings are demo-ed" is a big cop-out. There's many variables in that. All things being equal, how long should a city-owned vacant building like that be left standing and continually boarded up in your view, even when neighbors want it gone?

Asbestos this! said...

2 Words: Asbestos removal. What kind of asbestos hazard is a wooden house with wooden siding? On a few heating ducts in the cellar?

The houses getting torn down first probably provide the most profit for the (mob controlled?) demolition contractors.

The city should get its own equipment & use its own employees to do this work, not handing out sweetheart deals.

Anonymous said...

More attention should be brought to the people at Buffalo-Reuse and the deconstruction and reuse of homes like this. Check them out at www.buffaloreuse.org.

MJ said...

There are houses in much more need of being removed is David's point.

See the burnouts around the corner from rehabbed schools or the houses with collapsed sections. Keeping this unique structurally sound house in an emerging neighborhood with semi intact streetscape secure would have been the much wiser investment with demo moved a few blocks away over to the vacant houses surrounding the new performing arts school

I can think of one house a few doors down across the street from this one where the chinney has fallen into the house. It should have come down way before this one.

Anonymous said...

b,
these are (rather, should be) nuanced decisions, arrivced at not just by applying an arbitrary time frame by saying after X years this building will be torn down. suffice it to say, a structurally sound and architecturally significant house in an area that is seeing substantial new public and (to a lesser extent) private investment should not be a top priority for demolition. despite the City's claims to the contrary, there is no rational thought going into which structures stay and which structures go. according to their public statements, they purportedly have a new demolition plan - but where is it? after more than a year and a half the Casey administration has shown nothing strategic or comprehensive in its approach to demolition. they have lost the benefit of the doubt.

b said...

926 - I agree there should be transparency about reasoning for the decisions and prioritization.

Disagree with your (apparent) view that nearby neighbor desires for its demolition weren't important - IMO that should be one of the major considerations.

Do you honestly think somebody would have come along and rehab-ed it?

What do you figure they were they waiting for - warmer weather? And if that person exists, aren't there many others nearby still available for saving and now that person's money and effort (if that person exists) can be used instead to save one of those?

FWIW, for perhaps altering these potential silent-but-willing saviors to other architecturally significant houses the city may pull the trigger on if they haven't already, here's a link to "proposed demolition" list I just found on the city's site (and it includes 93 Riley):

www.city-buffalo.org/files/1_2_1/SPlanning/
Proposed%20Demolition%20Sites.pdf

Or here's a tiny url for it;

http://tinyurl.com/32pxfp

Mary said...

How sad -- it was a beautiful house, with lots of history, no doubt. If you see or hear of a similar fate scheduled for 85 Waverly, (where my grandfather grew up), I hope you'll let me know.

Roy said...

Anonymous 9:26 states the case well. We can lust for coherent policy, but there is no reason to expect much from government.

It is entirely possible for one or more neighborhood residents to hasten or delay demolition of a building. I have recently reboarded a property near my house for the third time. FixBuffalo and I have shown it off to potential buyers. I have dragged two friends through it.

I'm really glad that FixBuffalo and many others are applying pressure to get functional responses from the giant local tax sponge. While we wait for this miracle to happen, there is plenty to do. We can clean up trash, cut weeds and grass, chase off crackheads, connect with neighbors- it's endless. I'm sure Buffalo ReUse could use donations.

The fact is, we have about as much clout as we give ourselves. We all live somewhere. If 97 Riley was on my block, it might still be standing.

b said...

"MJ said...
There are houses in much more need of being removed is David's point.

See the burnouts around the corner from rehabbed schools or the houses with collapsed sections. Keeping this unique structurally sound house in an emerging neighborhood with semi intact streetscape secure would have been the much wiser investment with demo moved a few blocks away over to the vacant houses surrounding the new performing arts school

I can think of one house a few doors down across the street from this one where the chinney has fallen into the house. It should have come down way before this one.

9:18 AM, August 09, 2007"

Related Q&A (with Q motivated by above) on a recent post at Paul Wolf's buffaloideas.com:

http://tinyurl.com/2cf95q

"Paul, In another recent post you mentioned your friendship with David of FixBuffalo blog.

As you may have read on David's blog over the past year, there have been several times he's expressed frustration that the city's process for selection of which houses are demolished seems to him at times very non-sensical, and also does not do a good job of letting the public easily learn which houses are slated for demolition, and finally does not have a good open process for enabling public input in the house selection and prioritization process.

I'm curious if you have any comments from you about how these aspects could be improved?

Shouldn't the city's web site be much better in timely full reporting to the public about which houses are slated for demolition, and also shouldn't it provide some easy means for people to suggest which houses should (or shouldn't) be prioritized and give their reasons why?


Posted by: Question for Paul | November 15, 2007 at 09:49 PM


To answer the question presented to me:

Our entire housing inspection system right or wrong is driven by citizen complaints. Essentially buildings make it on the demolition list in large part due to citizen complaints wanting the vacant eyesore on their street taken down.

I know that Commissioner Tobe has worked with community organizations such as the Black Rock Riverside Good Neighbor Planning Alliance to obtain community input as to problem properties needing demolition were a neighborhood priority.

Councilmembers also advocate and provide input into the Inspections Department seeking to have community priorities brought to their attention addressed.

You raise a good point as to why a property demolition list is not made available to the public on the City's web site. I will ask Commissioner Tobe whether such a list could be made available to the public.


Posted by: Paul | November 16, 2007 at 02:28 PM"