New sidewalks, streets, modern lighting and improved landscaping are coming to the Fruit Belt community adjacent to the medical corridor as part of a $3.2 million investment that has two aims: to retain current residents and to attract new ones.
The bulk of the money comes from federal highway funds, with the rest a combination of city and federal money.
“This is good news for city residents and for the physicians, patients and others who will enjoy the benefits of an improved roadway and other enhancements that add to the quality of life in one of Buffalo’s rapidly growing neighborhoods,” Mayor Byron W. Brown said at a news conference Monday at Futures Academy on Carlton Street.
The improvements will happen primarily on Carlton and include road repairs, sidewalk and curb replacement, upgrades to ramps for the handicapped, installation of new LED lighting and landscape enhancements.
Also, a new water main will be installed along Carlton, and “green” infrastructure, such as pervious pavement, has been added to the project to divert some of the rain runoff from the combined sewer system in the neighborhood. In addition, some of the money will be used to resurface roads and install sidewalks on the side streets that intersect with Carlton.
Some of the people who will be affected by the changes were happy to hear the news.
“I’m extremely excited because anything positive that happens in the community can’t help but trickle down to our children,” said Tonja M. Williams, principal of Futures Academy.
Freida Joyce, owner of a cafe at Masten Avenue and Eaton Street, was optimistic that the upgrades will give a boost to her business, which is near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Ever since she took over the family business in 2003, business has not been as good as she had hoped, but Monday’s announcement about the improvements made her upbeat.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “The area will be more attractive to workers and family people so they don’t feel they have to go outside the neighborhood.”
Destro & Bros. Concrete Co. was awarded the contract. Work is to begin this spring.
The funding fulfills the promise that City Hall made in 2009, officials said. Back then, the city sold a portion of Goodrich Street between Ellicott Street and Michigan Avenue to Kaleida Health for $1.1 million for construction of Kaleida’s global vascular institute.
Common Council Member Darius G. Pridgen of the Ellicott District and Majority Leader Demone Smith of Masten also spoke at the news conference.