|Date:||August 2, 2022|
By Nina Raj |
Each week, PPG summarizes important takeaways from the major Buffalo Common Council meetings. We also include information from Council meetings related to our Community Agenda items
For this week's summary, we'll focus on the Regular Meeting. The Regular Meeting is the Common Council's primary meeting, where they make official decisions on issues.
This week's Regular Meeting began with Common Council Chaplain Reverand Al Warner reflecting on Eight Days of Hope, a Christian community restoration nonprofit, and efforts in the Fillmore District. The organization worked to beautify the Lincoln Park area with 1,300 volunteers from over 30 states and served 197 families. Warner specifically mentioned the gratitude of Pamela Pritchett—daughter of Pearl Young, a beloved community member and victim of the Tops mass shooting. He explained how Pritchett had feared for the safety of herself and her family after the May 14 tragedy, but she also said Eight Days of Hope helped to restore her trust in others. Warner celebrated this as an example of healing across racial barriers and thanked volunteers.
The Council approved a pilot project to redevelop the historic St. John Kanty School building and ten adjacent city-owned vacant lots. The plan expects to create 42 affordable housing units targeted at households at or below 50-60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In addition, the project will set a certain number of residential units aside for survivors of domestic violence and individuals with mobility, hearing, or visual impairments. Surrounding vacant lots will transform into greenspace with gardens and a playground. Parts of the building will also become a service hub for delivering afterschool, weekend, summer break, and prevocational services.
An amendment to the 2020-2021 Annual Action Plan proposed replacing and restructuring Buffalo's deteriorated curbs, sidewalks, and pavement. The $1 million funding for the project comes from leftover balances of prior years and unspent money from Public Works services that were inoperative during the pandemic. Common Council approved this amendment, along with the 2022 Annual Action Plan with Budget Recommendations. The 2022 Action Plan summarized its goals as assisting low-income homeowners in keeping and rehabilitating their housing, supporting public services that address social determinants of health, removing threats to public safety, and improving city infrastructure.
Council Member Golombek sponsored a resolution to authorize the Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning to apply for a $140,000 Climate Resiliency Planning grant. It acknowledges that the City of Buffalo has declared a climate emergency and states that climate change poses a significant risk to the health of residents, which justifies additional funding. Council approved the resolution.
Council then approved a traffic ordinance prohibiting parking in bike lanes. Council Member Rivera emphasized the importance of the law to keep cyclists safe, especially as the City works to add more bike lanes to streets. Finally, Council approved a resolution to rename the garden in the middle of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park—formerly known as Cottage Garden—in honor of John E. Brent, Buffalo's first African-American architect. Before adjourning the meeting, Council President Pridgen reminded the public that Common Council would be in recess throughout August and return in September.
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