4 Conclusion

The Buffalo Comprehensive Plan strikes a balance between the visionary and the practical, between what Buffalonians hope for their city in the future and what must be done right now to save it, between what is possible over the next quarter century and what is necessary now. Even as Buffalo struggles to answer its current crisis, it is essential to act as if the city will be here a hundred years from now and beyond. Buffalo can do both and the Comprehensive Plan shows how.

A city must have a plan for its future, and as the one plan for Buffalo, the Comprehensive Plan will provide the binding legal framework for all of our future-focused work, including plans for Downtown, the waterfront, for its historic assets, and for all of Buffalo’s neighborhoods. The Comprehensive Plan will provide a policy direction that is clear, unequivocal, consistent over time, official and authoritative.

A city must have a vision for its future, and the Comprehensive Plan expresses that clearly. Buffalonians do not want a different city; they want a city that is everything Buffalo was and could be again, that reclaims our past greatness and finds its place in the 21st century world at the same time.

A city must always follow basic principles in building its future and the Comprehensive Plan shows the way. The principles of sustainability and smart growth, and the common sense advice of "fix the basics" and "build on assets" animate every part of this plan.

Any vision and plan must be put into action behind clear policy priorities. For the Comprehensive Plan these include providing quality public services, maintaining public infrastructure, transforming the city’s economy, rebuilding its schools, and revitalizing its housing and neighborhoods. It also means reinvesting in essential structure of the city – the Ellicott street plan, the Olmsted parks and parkways, and the waterfront – as well as the whole of our urban fabric, old and new.

A plan must also have a clear goal, and this plan does – to reverse the long-term decline in the city’s population, economy and physical environment. Such a goal, like the entire plan, is visionary. But at the same time, it is nothing more than what absolutely must be done.

Finally, an effective plan must link vision and policy directly to capital investment. The Comprehensive Plan does that, as did the City Charter revisions of recent years. Expressing Buffalo’s vision, plan and policies through its Capital Improvement Program, however, demonstrates that the City lacks the resources on its own to do everything that needs to be done and makes the case for the special Buffalo Development Program.

With the help of County, State and Federal partners, however, Buffalo can implement this plan and achieve the goal. To paraphrase Buffalo Bills coaching great Lou Saban, we can achieve what this plan describes. But, even more than that, we must achieve it.