The public will have two chances next week to comment on a draft management plan to commemorate black history in the City of Buffalo.
The Common Council will hold hearings at noon and 6 p.m. next Tuesday in City Hall before considering whether to approve the plan from the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor Commission. That group’s members already have had their say, Commission Chairwoman Karen Stanley Fleming said during a meeting Monday.
The proposed corridor starts at East Ferry Street and Masten Avenue and continues south to Woodlawn Avenue, then to Michigan Avenue, and ends at Swan Street, with several offshoots along the way. Those include Pine, Sycamore, Elm, William, Hickory and South Division streets.
The plan aims to highlight the significance of the corridor in American history, including the abolitionist movement, the early civil rights Niagara Movement and the cultural arts as well as in early business development and land acquisition.
Other goals are to develop the zone as a destination for residents, scholars and tourists and to facilitate the growth of jobs, housing, small businesses, tourism, restaurants and retail services.
Also during Monday’s board meeting, Stanley Fleming announced a fundraising program with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.
The fundraiser is tied to a March 8 concert featuring opera singer Kathleen Battle in Kleinhans Music Hall.
“It is a program of spirituals tied to the Underground Railroad,” said Robin Parkinson, BPO’s director of education.
The orchestra will donate to the commission $2 from every concert ticket sold. The Community Foundation will match the donation for a total contribution of $4 from each ticket.
“Commissioners will decide what projects will be supported by the donations,” said Jean McKeown, senior program officer for the Community Foundation.
The commission has partnered with the foundation to get Gates 3 and 4 of the Buffalo Zoo listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Monday, commissioners voted to accept $8,500 from the Community Foundation to fund research and professional services to complete the application for the register.
Although the zoo itself is listed already on the National Register, commissioners want to highlight the gates that were designed by African-American architect John Brent. He also designed the Michigan Street “Colored” YMCA. The zoo is part of the commission’s Thematic Heritage Area outside the proposed corridor.