10/17/2011Posted by MJ
Another Buffalo News article on the value of older structures in neighborhood turnarounds:
Buffalo's preservation success starts in its vibrant middle-class neighborhoods, where homeowners work together to protect, promote and develop a sense of community.
Private investment is key, but even vacant houses have the power to turn neighborhoods around, according to Harvey Garrett, who directs the West Side Community Collaborative
"Instead of knocking them down, take private investment and reuse them," said Garrett. "The East Side and West Side were both considered gone. Even the people living in the neighborhoods didn't see anything worth investing in.
"Today, we [the middle-West Side] have attracted millions of dollars in investment," Garrett said. "We've tripled the property values in the last 10 years. Businesses like the Urban Roots Garden Center and Five Points Bakery were started by people who live only blocks away."...As I mentioned last week the city has the infrastructure intact to start a trend of growth. The biggest change will come from those living here taking the risk to invest and putting the effort in to civicly participate on behalf of their street and neighborhood. They will also most likely continue the first wave of businesses DT. The inertia builds from there.
Historically government usually only gets in the way but there always remains the chance that those in charge will start to get creative. Lots of examples exist to get inspiration and to form plans from. From there is is taking a risk to try something new (to us) and watching how it works (or doesn't).