Press Release to the public & media on June 15, 2012

Public Statement re: Proposed Demolition of Busti Avenue Properties

Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) would like to commend Mayor Bryon Brown for his recent letter to Governor Cuomo calling for a delay and reexamination of the proposed demolitions on Busti Avenue. The properties in question, all owned by the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, are being demolished by the Public Bridge Authority to make way for an expanded truck plaza and Duty Free Shop at the international Peace Bridge crossing. PBN considers this action by the Public Bridge Authority to be short-sighted.

One of the properties slated for demolition, the 1864 Samuel H. Wilkeson House located at 771 Busti Avenue, is listed as a City of Buffalo local historic landmark. The Italianate mansion’s historic significance is well-documented as having a direct connection to one of the City’s founding families and contributes to the larger context of the Historic Prospect Hill neighborhood. That valuable context, including the houses on the block surrounding the
Wilkeson House, serves as an irreplaceable link to our community’s past and is threatened with being lost forever. PBN is calling on the Public Bridge Authority to serve as a model for area property owners in regarding to the maintenance of the Wilkeson House as well as the other properties in its ownership. The deteriorated state of these properties is unsettling and ill-serving for such a community landmark and the surrounding properties which contribute to its significance.

Additionally, if the Public Bridge Authority moves forward with the expansion of its commercial truck plaza, even greater amounts of diesel truck exhaust will migrate into the adjacent neighborhood as well as the rest of the City. Diesel exhaust, recently listed as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization, has long plagued residents of the West. PBN would like to praise the Common Council for their unanimous decision to adopt a resolution calling on the Public Bridge Authority to make the necessary modifications to cease the idling of trucks among other demands which would result in improved air quality for the City residents.

Preservation Buffalo Niagara would to commend and encourage the residents of the Historic Prospect Hill neighborhood to continue their appeals to our elected officials regarding the Public Bridge Authority’s operations. While living in closest proximity to the health hazards generated at the international Peace Bridge crossing, this group of dedicated citizens have fought for our collective health and safety for nearly two decades while many suffer direct affects of elevated air pollution. It is PBN’s hope that more citizens of the City of Buffalo support and join this worthy cause for a healthier and more prosperous Buffalo.

A pdf version of the press release can be found here.