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Work is resuming on the $6 million street and ROW Improvement of Northland Avenue

by Jim Fink
Wed, Apr 4th 2018 04:00 pm
Buffalo Business First

 Another significant sign of progress is occurring around the Northland Workforce Training Center campus: a large section of Northland Avenue has been closed to traffic while crews begin a $6 million streetscape renovation.

"This makes the project even more real," said Mayor Byron Brown of the overall $100 million redevelopment effort on the city's East Side. "To me, closing the street is a powerful indicator that Northland is real and it is happening."

Starting Monday, April 9 crews will begin paving Northland Avenue between Fillmore Avenue and Grider Street. The project also includes new curbs, sidewalks, streetlighting, landscaping, utility upgrades and the creation of a passive neighborhood pocket park.

The century-old factory site is being redesigned as an educational hub for modern workforce needs. The first classes are scheduled to start August 27.

"When it's done, it will be a huge lift for the community," Brown said.

In addition to seed funding from the Buffalo Billion program, Buffalo Urban Development Corp., led by Brown, received a $4 million Restore NY grant that helped finance the demolition of a dilapidated structure at 777 Northland Avenue and help renovate what's called the Eastern Plant Building on East Delavan Avenue.

Developments are continuing on several other fronts, including the 55,000-square-foot Buffalo Manufacturing Works facility that's due to open in July 2019. And design work is underway for "Project Rainfall", an urban hydroponics growing center that's also due to open next year.

Besides bringing an economic surge to an economically challenged section of the city, Brown said another goal of the Northland project is to make sure women and minority-owned firms and workers are part of the various construction projects. More than 28 percent of those working on one of the Northland aspects fit the demographics.

"I desperately wanted those impacts on the East Side," Brown said. "It wasn't a tough sell."