Mayoral candidates weigh-in on revitalizing Buffalo's east side

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- At last Thursday's announcement of the new program operator of the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center near the corner of Jefferson and East Utica Mayor Byron said it's just part of a larger vision to bring back the city's east side.

"Beverly A. Gray is part of $50 million of development that will come down Jefferson Avenue," said Byron Brown. (D) Buffalo Mayor. "So, here we're in a facility that will provide technical assistance and business resources to minority and women owned businesses, but there'll also be commercial spaces coming back to Jefferson Avenue, there'll be housing coming to Jefferson Avenue."

Brown says that $50 million also includes a healthcare facility and infrastructure improvements. He says another $70 million is being spent in the Delavan Grider neighborhood with the State Workforce Training Center and $70 million in the Central Park and Highland Park area, all totaling $200 million on the citys east side.

"An incubator in the Mayor's 12th year as mayor is an insult to the people of Jefferson, the businesses of Jefferson, and on the east side," said Mark Schroeder.

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder, who's challenging the Mayor, begs to differ. He says the city's east side has far too long been neglected.

"When you're in your 12th year and you're only planning and you're beginning to do certain things, it's disrespectful because you know Buffalonians; they're very grateful for downtown development and waterfront development, but they are muttering in these neighborhoods, especially on the east side and lower west side. What about us?" said Schroeder.

"As you now we lost the Central Terminal, to have the train station there. That was the hope and dream to redevelop the Broadway Filmore area the Jefferson Avenue area, we're still waiting for that investment that would say the east side truly has been taken care of and the needs of the community have been met," said Betty Jean Grant, Erie County Legislator.

rant, who hopes to become mayor, says Brown hasn't kept his promise to help residents on the east side.

"I'm at the Merriweather Library, every other week and I hear from people, I hear from business people here, people who live on these side streets they know as well as I that resources that have been allocated to relieve poverty and blight have not been utilized on the east side of Main Street especially in the Jefferson Avenue area," she said.

The mayor will get a chance to defend his record on the east side and Schroeder and Grant will have the opportunity to outline their plans for the city in a series of debates leading up to the September 12th primary.  

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