Small $$ Big Effort

Posted by MJ

Buffalo Rising and The Buffalo News reported on the increase in investment in the area west of Richmond Ave in Buffalo. Once written off as a dead war zone it has shown signs of growth and reinvestment as people who were priced out of the neighborhoods lining Elmwood Ave forged a new frontier. On one block alone housing values raised from 2k to 150k. Home ownership from 50% to almost 100%.

A few quick points:
  • The city is hardly involved. Why it is nice when the city gets things correct, the change agent will be us.
  • House by house civic groups bring people together to be change they are looking for.
  • The example house shown above is much better than a vacant lot. It shows commitment to the street and it adds another good property owner to the street. I'm more prone to invest when I see investment (house being updated) than disinvestment (demolition). The 10k to demo the house could easily be used as matching grants to someone willing to reinvest in it.
  • A walkable shopping/living area is acting not just as a catalyst for the surrounding 3-4 blocks but its effects continue to reach outward.
  • Volunteer effort is king. Be it parks, home updating, eyes on the street etc. Neighbors who know each other and work together great things, once thought unthinkable, happen.


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea, I wish it would hapen here.
It is the total opposite of HV spending $1,000,000 per house and increasing rental density. Fix what we have up, give incentives not to demolish, and give tax breaks for converting houses back to 1 or 2 family homes. If you could get proud homeowners living in the war zone it could become the de-milaterized zone!

Anonymous said...


MJ said...

You have to realize that one is citizen driven (low money - high civic effort) and the others like HV are government driven (high money - low civic effort)The West Side of Buffalo also has HV type projects with low income housing credits and grants going to rehab structures or build new ones. The higher value is the one that requires more effort on all of our parts. Are we up to it?

The saveLockporthousing group that is starting to flesh out could be one of those successful civic ventures like the one posted on above.

The west side of Buffalo is probably closer to a "war zone" with actual murders each year and such. Yet the allure of walk-ability, The Elmwood strip, being apart of something close knit, saving a piece of history, etc give it the fuel to turn around. With zero murders in our "war zone" in years the path has the possibility of an being easier.

Xavier said...

P.S. I'd help - I'm a klutz but can hold things and run for coffee!

MJ said...

I took out the one comment. Really wasn't sure what it meant.

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