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Originally appeared in the Buffalo News on June 24th, 2012. Above image is from a BuffaloRising post from February 2011.

The proposed demolition of the houses the Peace Bridge Authority owns on Busti Avenue would violate a court order issued by State Supreme Court Justice Eugene Fahey, who ruled that the authority cannot segment its plans to build a plaza, then a bridge, or piecemeal phases of the expansion out over decades, which is what it has done.

The authority recently distributed a 2011 Plaza Renovation Map showing 24.61 acres of property is needed to complete the current expansion. This map includes all of the property on Busti Avenue, several city streets and the Episcopal Church Home (the site of the new Duty Free Store).

It is pointless for the Bridge Authority or some elected officials to deny that the Busti demolitions are not a part of the plaza expansion. For decades the authority has blatantly and arrogantly maneuvered around court decisions and public agreements, and continued its agenda with impunity. Without the plaza expansion, there would have been no need to acquire, deliberately blight and now demolish these properties on Busti.

Mayor Byron Brown took the right position asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene. The Bridge Authority has no permits to expand the plaza, no funding and not enough legally obtained land. It likewise has no permits or approval for a second bridge, with no approved bridge design, no land and no funding, either in the United Stats or Canada. It cannot be allowed to creep its way into our neighborhoods with feigned denials.

Brown exercised good judgment in calling the demolitions premature without any viable public plan. That’s what a good leader does; places the welfare of people before profit or politics.

Denise Cornell – Buffalo, N. Y.