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Fruit Belt residents are still waiting for answers

Congratulations to University at Buffalo School of Architecture Dean Robert Shibley on his recent honor. But just in case Colin Dabkowski’s statement, offered whimsically tongue in cheek, that “Buffalo is Robert Shibley’s city. We’re all just living in it,” is accepted by some residents, I have to respond because I find no humor in the statement. I am a resident of what used to be the historic Fruit Belt. I cannot speak for or against Shibley, however, I do have a few questions and comments for his consideration.

With all the self-congratulations on a job well done by the power brokers, there is a missing element – the current residents. It’s difficult to see clearly sitting at a desk with piles of reports and books as the primary source for a vision, because a “fudged” report gives an inaccurate viewpoint.

The residents, both homeowners and renters, are afraid to speak up because they haven’t been adequately factored into the schematics/infrastructure. The plan has always been to buy out the neighborhood.

One disturbing neighborhood issue is the gross failure of our leaders to represent resident interests and our concerns regarding gentrification, land banking, eminent domain and rental price-out. There’s more I can say, but I’ll leave you with this: More than 20 years ago, the Fruit Belt was renamed “Medical Park” as it stands today. From our vantage point, once you take away our name, you plan to take everything else.

Veronica “Ronnie” Nichols

Buffalo