Saving our Streets: Say NO to General Mills

The City of Buffalo is preparing to give General Mills lower Michigan Avenue. At 2pm this afternoon there's a perfunctory public hearing prior to the General Mills take over of a very important public asset and a street that provides direct access to Buffalo's historic waterfront.

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Here's the current proposal the City of Buffalo is considering. This is wrong on a number of levels. 

Last December Lee A. Anderson, Director of State and Local Government Relations for General Mills was asked by Council President Darius Pridgen whether General Mills, the global food giant and maker of Cheerios, would leave Buffalo if this take-over proposal did NOT happen. Here's that two minute exchange and a formal statement by General Mills that they will NOT move if they don't get their way.

During last year's public hearing Daniel Sack, Campaign for Greater Buffalo board member and Dana Saylor, artist and founder of City of Night spoke out against this same proposal. Here's an incredibly informed and passionate statement about everything that is wrong with this corporate take over.  

Please inform friends in your networks about this meeting and why it's important to stop General Mills.

Update  1:55 pm - The Campaign for Greater Buffalo has issued the following statement regarding the proposed corporate take over of lower Michigan Avenue. 


Tour de Neglect: two (new) media reviews

Two journalists rode along on a recent Tour de Neglect through Buffalo's East Side and have recently published their work. Buffalo's own Block Club and UK's The Guardian join the list, see below, of media outlets critically reviewing this bicycle tour. 

Jennifer Conner, writing for the latest issue of Block Club, focuses on one of the tour's stops and writes about the people she met in historically one of the city's most challenged neighborhoods - In the shadow of the Sacred Heart. The census tract surrounding this neighborhood, once the most densely populated in the city, has lost more than 89% of its population over the years. Jennifer's work is richly photographed by Harper Bishop.

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Ethan Powers, writing for The Guardian has a broader view. His article contains a few of my own photographs of the city's East Side as well as Molly Jarboe's photographs from the tour.

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The city of Buffalo has an identity problem. One half has been reborn like a phoenix from a graveyard of industrial ash – experiencing an economic and cultural resurgence that has transformed many previously barren areas into bustling centres of commerce and entertainment. Yet the other half sits in a state of utter disrepair – its streets manifest a palpable level of poverty, blind to the recovery and optimism growing across town...read the rest.
Additional media reviews of previous Tour de Neglect bicycle tours are available here - #CNU22 Tour de Neglect Postscript. Buffalo News art critic Colin Dabkowski reviews an earlier tour here

Please join us for the the next Tour de Neglect - Saturday October 18, 2014. We'll be leaving from the Hotel Lafayette at 10am and returning a few hours later. Details on FaceBook


Today on Jefferson Avenue

This demolition of Buffalo's oldest synagogue was an avoidable tragedy. The Jefferson Street Shul was structurally sound, with cosmetic repairs only needed on bricks that had become loose on the facade. It is unfortunate that officials in the Department of Permits and Inspections were not willing to consider reasonable alternatives to the destruction of this landmark of the city's Jewish history.

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Saving landmarks like the Jefferson Street Shul always requires creativity, but by pursuing its destruction rather than its repair, the City took the easy way out.

For additional information see this post/links.



Jefferson Street Shul - Demo scheduled tomorrow

A representative from Regional Environmental Demolition confirmed late this afternoon that the Jefferson Street Shul will be demolished tomorrow morning. The City of Buffalo has awarded an $82,000 emergency demolition contract to this Niagara Falls NY based demolition contractor to destroy the city's oldest synagogue. The demolition is scheduled to begin at 8am tomorrow morning.

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I spoke with Terry Robinson - City of Buffalo Preservation Board member and Vice-President of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. He told me that the Preservation Board did NOT have an opportunity to review this demolition contract. "This is a huge loss for the city's East Side and for the entire City of Buffalo," Terry told me.

The Jefferson Street Shul was designated a "local-landmark" by the City's Preservation Board in 1997.

Please join the vigil tomorrow morning as we witness the destruction of the city's oldest synagogue from 8-10am at 407 Jefferson Avenue.

For additional information see this post/links.



Jefferson Street Shul - Demo update

The red-mark of death was sprayed on the city's oldest synagogue today.

Jefferson Street Shul - Red Mark of Death

In addition, the shul's utility connections have been identified with spray paint on the sidewalk. Multiple calls to the owner, Elliot Dalfin, have not been returned.

Additional information is available in these two posts 9/19/14 and 2/23/12.

fixBuffalo interior/exterior image archive