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Thursday, July 28, 2016
Fruit Belt Parking Permit Program Signed Into Law
July 22, 2016 - Mayor Brown, Local and State Leaders and Fruit Belt residents announce legislation signed into law
Mayor Byron W. Brown, New York State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, New York State Senator Timothy Kennedy, Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen and residents who live in the Fruit Belt Neighborhood came together today pleased that State Legislation has been signed into law giving Buffalo the ability to implement a parking permit program for the Fruit Belt Neighborhood. This permitting process will address community concerns about parking availability in and around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC).
Mayor Brown, County Executive Poloncarz, Congressman Higgins Announce Start of Construction on Bailey Avenue Bridges
July 22, 2016 - $20 million project is part of Mayor Brown’s commitment to improve safety for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists, further stabilize the area and promote growth, and strengthen the quality of life in the neighborhood
Mayor Byron W. Brown, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Congressman Brian Higgins, joined by State Senator Timothy Kennedy, State Assembly Member Michael Kearns, South District Council Member Christopher Scanlon and Lovejoy District Council Member Richard Fontana, today announced that a $20 million project to replace the Bailey Avenue Bridges over Cazenovia Creek and the Buffalo River has begun. A land swap between the City of Buffalo and Erie County paved the way for the new spans to be constructed next to the existing structures, enabling the project to move forward. Both bridges, which carry more than 20,000 vehicles per day and provide a critical link to the City of Buffalo, South Buffalo Business District and New York State Thruway, will be replaced and is another great example of a strong partnership between city, state and federal leaders, who secured funding for this project.
"The Bailey Avenue Bridges are a vital link between downtown Buffalo, the South Buffalo Business District and the NYS Thruway, that thousands of city residents and visitors depend upon,” said Mayor Brown. "This replacement project will ensure this important roadway remains viable for years to come and is the latest part of my administration’s significant investment in infrastructure in every corner of our City. I thank my partners in government for helping us secure funding for the project, as well as the County Executive Poloncarz for working together to negotiate the land transfer that enabled construction to move forward.”
“On behalf of the people of Erie County, I am so pleased to see this project here in South Buffalo move forward because this parcel of land is going to end up becoming yet another destination to enjoy for all county residents and visitors to our region,” said Erie County Executive Poloncarz. “The land transfer that took place this past February helped get the wheels in motion for the restoration of this property, which will eventually serve a wide variety of purposes, including a kayak launch, walking trails for nature walks and improved fishing access. I thank our community partners, particularly our friends from the City of Buffalo, for negotiating the land transfer and strategically planning a restoration project that will be envy of other communities when the final plantings are put into the ground next spring.”
“From Fillmore Avenue to Ohio Street and Niagara Street to Bailey Avenue we are seeing how rebuilding the City’s infrastructure is creating a stronger foundation for neighborhood revitalization and business district growth,” said Congressman Higgins. “This over $20 million project, which includes more than $15 million in federal transportation funding, is a great project made even better thanks to the leadership and commitment from Mayor Brown for the addition of streetscape features that enhance the existing basic asphalt plan to include elements inspired by the Olmsted Master Plan.”
The main goal of the project is to replace the two bridges, constructed in 1929, to improve safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists while helping to stabilize the area, promote growth and further improve the quality of life for city residents and business owners. As part of the work, a stretch of Bailey Avenue (U.S. 62) will be realigned between McKinley Parkway and Elk Street by smoothing the existing curve to improve traffic safety and efficiency. The final work will include a newly paved roadway surface, new sidewalks, a water line, LED street lighting, signs, traffic signal, new storm sewer, granite curb and landscaping. The project also includes improvements to what will become a County Park at the location of the existing bridges, as well as a new parking area and various improvements to both City and County parkland.
Senator Kennedy said, “For decades, the Bailey Avenue Bridges have acted as a connector and a gateway for businesses throughout South Buffalo to the downtown corridor and Thruway. Unfortunately, they pose a safety and structural risk given their age and need for repairs, which is why this project to replace them is so critically important,” said Senator Tim Kennedy. “I’m proud that New York State recognizes the impact this project will have on businesses and the more than 20,000 drivers who use this stretch of road daily, and has partnered with the city and federal governments to properly fund it. By taking this step, we’re sending a strong message: pedestrian and driver safety is top priority, and will be for generations to come.”
Assembly Member Kearns said, “I am proud to bring this bridge into the 21st century. The infrastructure upgrade is an urgent issue that is being addressed by our local, state and federal officials. When the work is complete and you can drive over this bridge you will not have to think twice if it is safe for driving.”
Council Member Scanlon stated, “I applaud the Mayor Brown as well as our state and federal elected officials for working together to fund the redesign and construction of the Bailey Avenue Bridges,” said South District Councilmember Christopher P. Scanlon. “This long awaited project will not only serve to improve the flow of traffic, but the beautifying features of the bridges will function as a welcoming gateway to South Buffalo.”
Council Member Fontana said, “The necessity of the bridge replacement created the opportunity to make the Bailey Avenue road way straighter and safer, while at the same time we are able to keep the existing road way open during construction not to impede commerce and traffic.”
Total construction costs are $ 20,887,000. The City’s share is approximately 7%, while the State and Federal share is about 97%. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.
Mayor Brown Announces New Leadership In The Buffalo Fire Department
July 20, 2016 - Swearing in of new BFD Leadership, as well as the hiring of more first responders, builds on continued efforts to lead the BFD into a new era of 21st Century fire fighting
Buffalo, NY - Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield announced today a series of appointments and plans for the Buffalo Fire Department (BFD) that build on the Brown administration’s continued commitment to further strengthen public safety to meet the demands of a growing Buffalo. Today, Buffalo Fire Captain Vincent V. Muscarella and Buffalo Fire Lieutenant Johnathan T. Eaton were sworn in as Deputy Fire Commissioners. Buffalo Fire Lieutenant James O. Otwell is the new Commander of the Buffalo Fire Investigation Unit. All three appointments are effective immediately and were announced at a swearing-in ceremony outside Buffalo Fire Headquarters.
“Keeping our city safe is among my administration’s top priorities and today marks a new era for the city’s fire department as new leadership comes in to effectively manage this complex department and the new firefighters that have been recently hired or will be hired,” said Mayor Brown. “It’s my pleasure to announce these appointments that will further bolster the leadership of the Buffalo Fire Department. With a combined experience of nearly 60 years in the department, these appointees have shown the experience, creativity and dedication it takes to lead the BFD.”
Mayor Brown also announced the hiring of a new class of 50 fire recruits, building on the 109 Buffalo Firefighters hired by the City of Buffalo last year. This new recruit class is expected to begin in early fall, continuing Mayor Brown’s commitment to ensuring the safety of residents and businesses.
“Our fire department is one of the finest in the nation and with our new leadership team in place, along with the hiring of more firefighters, we’re demonstrating our commitment to expanding our department with qualified men and women who reflect the communities they serve,” said Commissioner Whitfield.
Captain Muscarella is a 20-year veteran of the Fire Department, with over 60 Fire Department Certifications ranging from Basic Firefighting Essentials to Fire Instructor to Command and Leadership. He is a Master Instructor for the International Association of Fire Fighters. After graduating from the Buffalo Fire Academy in 1996, he received the Fire Bell Club “Rookie of the Year” award and became a Certified Fire Instructor before being promoted to Lieutenant in 2009 and then to Captain in 2013.
Lieutenant Eaton is a 14-year veteran of the Fire Department, with a law enforcement background. He served as a police officer in Winston Salem, North Carolina before joining the BFD, where he was promoted to Fire Lieutenant in 2013. He has extensive experience in team leadership and developing and implementing fire prevention and educational awareness campaigns.
Lieutenant Otwell has twenty plus years of fire and emergency management experience and 24 years of Military experience, as well as two years’ experience at the Department of State and 10 years as a private emergency management and fire services consultant. He has an extensive strategic, operational and tactical level of experience with international, federal and local governments and, during his career, has received a number of individual awards, including two superior service Awards from the Government of Iraq and the BFD 2014 Commissioners EMS Award.
The BFD leadership changes, along with the hiring of this next class of fire recruits, builds on Mayor Brown’s continued commitment to increase the number of minorities and women in the Fire Department, reflecting the rich racial and ethnic diversity in Buffalo. The addition of 50 new firefighters will bring the total number of sworn personnel in the Buffalo Fire Department to 706. All of these new firefighters must reside in Buffalo as a result of the latest fire contract.
Mayor Brown and Bluecross Blueshield of Western New York Announce Launch of Summer City Fitness
In an effort to get city residents moving in the summer months, Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced the launch of Summer City Fitness in partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York.
"Fitness in our city parks is an important part of our continued efforts to create a healthier and more vibrant city by providing more opportunities for residents to exercise and spend time outdoors," said Mayor Brown. "I applaud BlueCross BlueShield and our community partners for teaming up with us on Summer City Fitness at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Perkins Park as we work together on continued ways to help residents maintain healthy lifestyles and enjoy the many green spaces that Buffalo has to offer.”
The free fitness series features a mix of low- and high-impact classes, such as Zumba®, Pound, Pilates, and Aerobics. Classes, taught by popular instructors from the city’s community, will take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and Perkins Park from July 20 through September 3.
Mayor Brown called on BlueCross BlueShield to help launch the series. BlueCross BlueShield offers free fitness classes at Canalside and has a long history of bringing healthy initiatives to city residents.
Summer City Fitness will officially launch with the first class on Wednesday, July 20 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park at 6:30 a.m.
Classes are open to individuals of all ages, regardless of fitness level and experience. No pre-registration is required, individuals simply show up and jump in.
In addition, free fruits and water will be provided to participants by Urban Fruits and Veggies.
All classes are weather dependent. More information and a full calendar of fitness classes can be found at bcbswny.com/play. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences on social media through #SummerCityFitness.
Mayor Brown, Congressman Higgins Host Official Reopening of Newly Rehabilitated Ferry Street Bridge
July 18, 2016 - Nearly $8 million Project Provides Enhanced Connection to Improvements on Niagara Street and historic Broderick Park; simultaneous sea wall signing between the City of Buffalo and USACE signifies continued improvements to this area
At a ceremonial bridge lowering on Buffalo’s West Side, Mayor Byron Brown and Congressman Brian Higgins, joined by State Assemblyman Sean Ryan, Buffalo Common Council Majority Leader and Niagara District Councilman David Rivera, and LTC Adam Czekanski, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Buffalo District Commander, as well as community leaders, business owners, residents and others, celebrated today the official completion of the Ferry Street Bridge Rehabilitation project which has resulted in an improved connection between neighborhoods along Niagara Street to Broderick Park. Simultaneously, Mayor Brown also took part in a signing ceremony with the USACE to mark the start of the $505,000 Broderick Park Sea Wall Study.
“The Ferry Street Bridge is an important link to one of Buffalo’s crown jewels - Broderick Park - as well as to neighborhoods along Niagara Street,” said Mayor Brown. “This major infrastructure improvement project further strengthens the Niagara Street corridor, one of our great gateways from Canada. It also creates jobs and serves as a vital link to the Underground Railroad connection at historic Broderick Park. I thank my partners in government for being a part of this continued effort to give residents and visitors improved access to this unique cultural amenity and Buffalo’s waterfront.”
“While a great deal of public attention is focused on the area around Canalside, sites up and down the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers are experiencing a quiet renaissance thanks to millions of dollars in public investments,” said Congressman Higgins. “These efforts are enhancing areas along the water directly connected to local neighborhoods and encouraging new private sector investments from Ohio Street to Niagara Street.”
Council Member Rivera said, "The Ferry Street Bridge serves as a vital landmark to a diverse number of constituencies and its return to public use comes at an important time in our season of outdoor events and festivities. I commend the Mayor and Congressman Higgins for their partnership on restoring this bridge to its full capabilities. Residents as well as visitors should make an effort to come visit Broderick Park before summer ends, see the new historical markers, and enjoy the glorious views from this important place here in Buffalo."
Originally built in 1913, the Ferry Street Bridge is a bascule bridge crossing the Black Rock Channel. The $7.92 million reconstruction project, which began two years ago, included $5.56 million in federal transportation funding, $1.31 million in funding from the City of Buffalo and $1.05 million from the State. Read More...
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios