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Building A City Of Opportunity
Building A City Of Opportunity
MAYOR BROWN HIGHLIGHTS BUFFALO 2015: ‘BUILDING A CITY OF OPPORTUNITY’ IN STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS
Declaring city strong, Mayor announces a continued focus on economic development and job creation, as well as other initiatives focused on housing, public safety and new investments in neighborhoods, youth, education and arts to ensure that every city resident shares in Buffalo’s rising prosperity; Mayor also introduces a new community-wide group called the “Racial Equity Roundtable”and encourages individuals and organizations to sign the new ‘Buffalo Opportunity Pledge’
February 20, 2015 - Mayor Byron W. Brown today delivered his 2015 State of the City Address at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Joined by business, civic and community leaders, Mayor Brown outlined his goal of building a city of opportunity through a series of new strategic investments to keep Buffalo competitive for business growth and attractive for residents and visitors by further strengthening neighborhoods, parks, youth initiatives, education, arts and wellness citywide, as part of a community-wide plan that will move the city toward the goal of shared prosperity for all residents. He also announced his role as a founding member of a new group called the “Racial Equity Roundtable” and encouraged individuals and organizations to sign the new ‘Buffalo Opportunity Pledge’ at www.city-buffalo.com/buffaloopportunitypledge.
“The State of our City is strong and continues to grow stronger every day, however we must keep the engine of opportunity going by building a city of opportunity for everyone,” said Mayor Brown. “With significant investment and job growth underway in Buffalo, we have a unique opportunity to change this city for the better to ensure that every city resident shares in our rising prosperity. To accelerate Buffalo’s growth and create new opportunities for all, we must foster a community wide mindset that embraces diversity and inclusion as core values and strengths.”
Mayor Brown continued, “My vision has always been to make sure that every city resident – every business owner – knows they can succeed and participate in our city’s remarkable revival. This year, my administration and the Buffalo Common Council will continue to work closely on issues of diversity and inclusion, along with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and two dozen community and civic leaders, as part of the newly announced ‘Racial Equity Roundtable’.”
Mayor Brown’s tenth State of the City address contained a number of announcements, including:
Building a City of Opportunity: economic development and job creation
- Significant growth continues in Buffalo with over $5 billion in new economic development activity underway since 2012, expected to create over 12,000 new jobs
- Mayor Brown announced plans to issue a request for proposals for a mixed-use development on a city property with the goal of attracting a major grocery store to downtown Buffalo. The parcel is located at 201 Ellicott Street.
- Mayor Brown also confirmed that AMC, one of the largest theater chains in the country, is coming to the Market Arcade Cinema Complex in Buffalo, with construction for 2015.
- Mayor Brown announced that he will not raise property taxes in 2015.
- Mayor Brown announced that – in just one year – the city nearly reached its goal of creating 1,300 new housing units in downtown Buffalo by 2018. Mayor Brown set a new goal: complete 2,000 new units by 2018.
- Mayor Brown continues to support growing industries in Buffalo, including the emerging film industry. In collaboration with the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, he set the goal of bringing 250 new film jobs to Buffalo by 2018.
- Mayor Brown announced a new tourism agreement between New York City and Buffalo.
Building a City of Opportunity: further strengthening public safety
Overall crime continues to drop, down by 25% since 2005, with overall serious crimes dropping to an historic low in 2014
- This year, the city will offer cash rewards to increase arrests and convictions of those who commit homicide and possess illegal guns.
- The city will continue to crack down on bars and clubs that threaten public safety.
- To make Buffalo even safer and improve communication between law enforcement and residents, Mayor Brown announced a new partnership with Nextdoor, a private social network for neighborhoods.
- In 2015, funding will be extended for another year for the Peacemakers Gang Intervention Program.
Building a City of Opportunity: strengthening all Buffalo neighborhoods
- By the end of 2015, Mayor Brown will have allocated $60 million in infrastructure improvements citywide since 2006; he has invested over $40 million in city parks since 2006. In addition:
- By the end of this year, Buffalo will have over 80 miles of bike lanes, becoming an even more Bike Friendly City.
- This year, working closely with the Better Buffalo Fund, awards will be distributed to winning projects that will enhance transit-oriented development around the city.
Mayor Brown announced a series of neighborhood projects including:
The city will continue to work on a plan with Governor Andrew Cuomo, Empire State Development and the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation to develop the Northland Business and Training Park, which could potentially bring hundreds of jobs and training opportunities to Buffalo’s East Side.
This year, Mayor Brown’s administration and the Common Council approved over $1 million for infrastructure improvements as part of the $70 million Highland Park development project.
Land located next to the historic Nash House will be developed in 2015 by the Michigan Street Preservation Corporation.
Buffalo will continue to move quickly when it comes to housing, breaking ground on a number of projects, including:
Bellamy Commons on Jefferson;
Saving Grace Ministries Veterans Apartments on East Ferry Street;
Mt. Aaron Senior Apartments on Genesee;
PUSH Buffalo’s affordable housing project on Massachusetts; and
The Waterfront Apartments on Niagara Street.
As Buffalo continues to see an increase in the number of immigrants and refugees, Mayor Brown introduced the new Director of the Office of New Americans, Jessica Lazarin.
To encourage even more recycling citywide, Mayor Brown announced that a new recycling public awareness campaign, called ’34-and-more’, will begin on Earth Day 2015 in April.
Building a City of Opportunity: connecting residents to opportunity
- Mayor Brown will continue to offer meaningful employment to city youth, adding funding for an additional 50 positions for at-risk youth in 2015. This increases the city’s summer youth workforce to 1,450.
- Mayor Brown’s administration continues to lead by example in connecting citizens to opportunities.
- The city is breaking down barriers for the hiring of minorities and women, creating the most diverse workforce in the city’s history.
- Mayor Brown also announced that he’s allocating funds for the purchase of tablet computers for 500 Say Yes Scholars who graduate from high school and go on to attend college.
- Mayor Brown also released additional information about Buffalo’s first-ever Serious Game Design Competition. For more information, go to www.city-buffalo.com.
Building a City of Opportunity: embracing diversity and inclusion
- Mayor Brown unveiled the City of Buffalo Opportunity Pledge. To sign on, go to www.city-buffalo.com/buffaloopportunitypledge.
- Mayor Brown also announced an historic collaboration between government, non-profits and the business community. He’s a founding partner of a new group called the “Racial Equity Roundtable”, along with the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and two dozen community and civic leaders.
- Mayor Brown also announced the newly created position of a chief diversity officer, who will serve as staff support for the work of the Racial Equity Roundtable.