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Old 10-30-2008, 11:43 PM
Location: Rockport Texas from El Paso
2,601 posts, read 8,521,563 times
Reputation: 1606


I can't say that they will print it because I am not living in Western NY and its a bit over their word limit. In addition they might not like the viewpoint-lol.

I live in South Texas and although I am well traveled, I keep coming to visit Buffalo. I don't come for the weather, don't care about the food, am not too interested in the Bills (although Lynch and Hardy both attended my alma maters), and although the people are friendly, they are friendly in my town too.

I come to Buffalo to be immersed in an America that looks virtually unchanged from 50 years ago. I love the buildings. One can go see the sights at, Gettysburg, or Kitty Hawk,or Ft Sumter, but in Buffalo I wander miles in any direction and actually feel what life was like years ago. For people in their 50's such as myself, this is a rich adventure and unlike other cities Buffalo's skyline is not marred by modern architecture.

When I read about the church that couldn't be sold locally, I was disgusted. There are many vacant churches on the Buffalo market and more are slated for future sale. Buffalo's demographics demonstrate that there will be no demand for ever opening these churches again as well as many other old industrial buildings. Locals have seen these buildings all their lives and probably don't' realize that any one of them would be a treasure in another city, especially outside the northeast. In my coastal town of Rockport, Texas, we celebrate two old buildings as our historical landmarks. Put either of them on the average street in Buffalo and they wouldn't even be noticed.

I once planned on buying a large old vacant warehouse on Niagara Street, until I discovered the yearly taxes, which were perhaps 4 times what they would be in Texas. The assessment people were not reasonable about the value, and the building remained vacant, until it was ransacked, its windows broken and its copper removed. The assessment is lower now but it's too little, too late. The same will be true of the many churches and otherwise economically unfeasible, but attractive Buffalo treasures. Replacement value is meaningless when the economic market value is near zero. The current assessment policies will not only kill the buildings, but they will devastate Buffalo. If a building sells for $25,000 that should be the assessment. That way someone like me may purchase and figure out a use for them, as it's a low risk investment, otherwise they will decay in the same manner as the city.
As cities around the country grow and build new structures, Buffalo will have an even greater opportunity to stand apart and be special. Short-sighted tax and assessment policies will deny those opportunities, as Buffalo's future, perhaps more than any city in North America is directly dependent on its past.

Steve Fischer
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:47 AM
Location: Beautiful Buffalo :-)
2,972 posts, read 8,213,945 times
Reputation: 1460
I wrote this from your editorial.

You were on target with many points, especially to say you can go anywhere in the city and find so many pieces of the past still standing. I've lived in Buffalo all my life, despite the politics and the depression, I remain to stay because I love this city too much to leave, like almost all of my family did. I've come to learn that every corner of Buffalo is an architecture dream.

Buffalo can't build on its architecture alone, the future depends on an economic turn-around, as well as the return of commerce downtown, like when it was back in the 70's. The future also depends on having a Mayor willing to put in the time to focus on downtown, I feel that having a thriving downtown will spread a positive light on other neighborhoods in the city, thus the prominence of Buffalo will be reborn.

Buffalo was designed having downtown as the heart of the city, this old map shows Niagara Square (aka "public square") as the center of Buffalo and the streets stretched outward. This design is nearly 125 years old, it's a premise that built Buffalo.... a theory, I feel, city leaders of today should return to when it comes to rebuilding our city.

Buffalo's future, most importantly, is weighed upon an improved infrastructure. One of the downfalls in my community is the lack of attention focused on the condition of the streets, broken sidewalks, rusted streetlights. How are we to attract new business/investment if neighborhoods are in such disrepair?

One thing, though I feel makes our city different is the hope and dream of a new future in old Buffalo.
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