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Announcing the New Strategic Action Plan

Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission to Launch Its New Community-Informed Strategic Action Plan and Economic Development Strategy

A Note from Terry Alford, Executive Director

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This day has been a long time coming for Buffalo’s East Side. 

As a son of the city I love, emblematic of those historic neighborhoods I grew up in that are connected to or near our Heritage Corridor, I am very proud to be a part of the effort that ultimately created a new strategic action plan and economic development strategy. The plan, developed through extensive community engagement and led by the national firm, Moody Nolan, will guide the redevelopment and future of our Corridor. 

I am excited in presenting this new strategic action plan to those who may have been residents or continue to live with their families within our Heritage Corridor that historically have been ignored or marginalized. 

As you will learn, the goals of the plan include identifying short-, medium- and long-term actions that will work to create a unified tourism destination; strengthen the Corridor’s cultural assets and the surrounding neighborhood; support the sustainability of the Commission; and further develop assets to facilitate increased visitorship and additional private investment. I am fully confident that this plan will serve as the economic engine that will spur economic development for the entire Corridor and its surrounding communities.

Before we begin our presentation, we will want to stress that what is presented is an aspirational vision of the Corridor based on feed-back provided by many of you, the community. What you may see suggested by renderings in the presentation are only recommendations; rest assured that the Commission nor any city-or state agency has any intentions in taking any one’s property or displacing any businesses to advancing the plan in the immediate future.

On behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank East Side Avenues, a capacity building initiative developed to fund, plan and coordinate revitalization strategies and initiatives aimed at improving Buffalo’s East Side. It is backed by a unique partnership of private and philanthropic organizations that created the pooled, $8 million East Side Collaborative Fund administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. The grants and supports are being provided to complement capital funding that is being awarded by Empire State Development as part of its $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development. East Side Avenues stemmed from UB Regional Institute’s partnership with ESD and the City of Buffalo to reach out to community members, to listen, analyze past investments and create a comprehensive plan focused on what key stakeholders said they’d like to see happen and what projects they believe are important for promoting economic activity.

I would also like to personally thank the members that comprise the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, (George Scott, Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, George Alexander, Dorothy Hill, Judge James McLeod, Anthony Johnson, Dr. Lillian Williams, Dr. Cynthia Conides, Sheila Brown, and Sharon Holley), our project manager (Audrey Clark), and our consultant (Roxanne Kise) and the Moody Nolan team of experts…all dedicated above-and-beyond selfless hours in the development of the plan.

I would like to thank our elected leaders for their undying support: Council President and Ellicott District Councilman Darius Pridgen, NYS Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and our Mayor, the Hon. Byron W. Brown.

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