Thursday, April 24, 2014

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EPA to assist Fillmore-Broadway district development

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Buffalo: EPA to assist Fillmore-Broadway district development
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BUFFALO, NY--The Fillmore Broadway District, home to the Broadway Market, is one of the city's most challenged neighborhoods. For years, the area has suffered from loss of population, high vacancies and under-investment.

Now one federal agency is stepping in to help. The Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood is one of 27 communities in 43 states slated to receive technical assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency.

"In the past the only time that I've had to call on the EPA is for serious environmental problems like down the street on Fillmore Avenue where they have to clean up an old industrial plant of chemical or cleanup an old General Electric Plant on French Street, " said Councilman David Franczyk.

Franczyk represents the Fillmore District on the Buffalo Common Council. He says this time the EPA is teaming up with the Broadway Fillmore Housing Center and other grassroots agencies to assist with "green development."

Franczyk said, "I think if the EPA deals with the environment,what they're gonna do is counsel people on(how) to lead perhaps healthier lives, how their houses can be safer, how their neighborhood can be more walkable."

The EPA is sending two experts into the community to hold a series of conferences with local groups and residents about ways to better their community. The goal is to help communities better understand change to better support things like housing and economic development.

And while it isn't likely to do away with the abandoned buildings or create jobs, Franczyk believes it is a small piece of the puzzle in laying the foundation for those things in the future.

"So we're talking protecting and enhancing the environment that people live-in in the cities and that's what they're gonna come here for. It's just one little part of a much wider picture," added Franczyk.

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