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Four Neighborhoods, One Community

BNMC’s Ongoing Commitment to our Surrounding Neighborhoods

Consideration for the diverse and historic neighborhoods adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (Allentown, the Fruit Belt, our neighborhoods to the North, and Downtown) has been a guiding principle since the formation of the BNMC, Inc. in 2002.

We brought together residents and neighborhood stakeholders for an integrated planning effort beginning in 2006 called “Four Neighborhoods, One Community” a long-term planning process that recognized the importance of planning for our growth together. This effort continues to be our framework for collaborative engagement with our neighborhood partners.  It also reinforced our commitment to adhering to smart growth principles of urban development by creating a dense, vibrant Campus.

As growth continues, our team works with our neighbors within a one-mile radius around the Campus to identify, address and resolve issues of shared concern, including those pertaining to:

  • economic development,
  • workforce development,
  • neighborhood infrastructure,
  • transportation and parking,
  • as well as to provide opportunities that can improve resident’s lives.

Using our MutualCity methodology, our goal is to revitalize our community beyond our Campus borders.  We do this by investing our resources, collaborating with key stakeholders and partners, and by developing creative solutions to provide opportunities for local residents so that they can share in the success of the Medical Campus. Our unique and comprehensive community approach has been cited as a model for anchor institutions in other cities.

We are a unique non-profit organization in that we strive to be self-sustaining. Revenue realized from parking and real estate, after expenses, is re-invested for the benefit of our local community. We also work diligently to identify additional sources of funding through Federal and State programs and local grant funding to support initiatives that benefit the surrounding community.

Our work is not done. Many of the issues we address do not have easy solutions, however, we invite anyone with the interest to join us to continue to develop strategies that can enhance our neighborhoods and to find ways to help local residents share in the success of the Medical Campus.

Highlights of our investment in the surrounding neighborhoods includes:

 Building relationships and understanding issues:

  • Host quarterly “Four Neighborhoods, One Community” stakeholder meetings as well as smaller mealtime conversations with local residents through our informal “At the Table” get-togethers, and continued representation in neighborhood organizations to encourage dialogue, empower residents, forge relationships and collaborate on solutions. Our doors are always open to our neighbors.
  • Identified and trained community leaders, “GO Buffalo Champions,” through our GO Buffalo community outreach program, who represent neighborhood interests and facilitate communication regarding key BNMC, Inc. initiatives of benefit for their neighbors.
  • Hosted in-depth leadership training in conjunction with UB, Roswell and Leadership Buffalo for 24 Fruit Belt neighborhood stakeholders. This group created “Orchard Community Initiative (OCI),” a neighborhood organization creating opportunities within housing initiatives and partnership with the BNMC, Inc. on workforce initiatives.
  • Developed the Neighborhood Explorer program with more than 85 participating businesses as a way to raise awareness of the many amenities around the Campus and encourage employees to patronize these small and local businesses.

Workforce and Economic Development Initiatives:

  • Brought Medical Campus member institutions together through our Workforce and Procurement Work Councils to actively work together on strategies to better connect local residents with employment and business opportunities on the Medical Campus. These groups are actively working on finding ways to make job opportunities more accessible, to connect small businesses to member institutions and to identify how best to support job seekers with necessary skills to ensure success.
  • Conducted studies and surveys on job and training opportunities, transportation barriers, and parking issues and housing, which have led to the development of new approaches designed to assist local residents.
  • Through our Vendor Fair and direct connections, we have opened up business opportunities for local, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses with the Campus entities, directly impacting their success and growth.
  • Host an annual “Picture Yourself on the Medical Campus” day for hundreds of local middle and high school students and their parents to educate and inspire them to consider education and career paths in medicine, research, technology, entrepreneurship and related fields.

Improved infrastructure:

  • Secured $8.4 million in Federal, state and local grants to enhance streetscapes and public spaces on and around Campus including improved lighting, landscaping, bike storage and physical improvement designed to increase safety, encourage healthy lifestyles and to create an inviting, pedestrian friendly environment.
  • Secured $6.8 million in Federal, State and city funding to improve pedestrian access and streetscape design to connect Allentown and the Medical Campus.
  • Worked with the City of Buffalo and Kaleida Health to ensure that the $1M in funding from the sale of Goodrich Street went directly into supporting infrastructure improvements that resulted in enhancements to Carlton Street in the Fruit Belt neighborhood.
  • Helped coordinate the planning and development of The University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine, currently under construction on Main Street and Allen, that will include the City’s most significant transit-oriented developments. It will include a state-of-the-art Metro Rail station within the building, allowing visitors to enter and exit through the Medical School lobby.
  • Conducted a Housing Study to inform our role in supporting housing and community development near the Campus, along the transit line, and within ¼ mile of train stations and bus stops. We are currently considering strategies identified within the study including the feasibility of developing a comprehensive employee-housing assistance program, creating a housing resource center, and ways to protect existing homeowners and renters from negative impacts of gentrification as the market changes.

Transportation and Access:

  • Brought together a number of transportation related entities to collaborate on transportation planning for the Campus that resulted in the development of a Transportation Management Association (TMA) and the 2010 Comprehensive Transportation Study to continually monitor, plan for and manage parking and transportation options as the campus grows.
    • Learn more about BNMC’s Comprehensive Approach to Planning for Campus Growth
  • Secured funding from NYSERDA and NYSDOT and brought groups together to identify solutions for local residents in the Fruit Belt Neighborhood impacted by employee parking on their streets. This included studying parking patterns to determine issues and options and in supporting legislation to create parking benefits district in partnership with neighborhoods and other partners.
  • Implemented a campus-wide community outreach program, GO Buffalo, to identify and help address transportation and mobility issues in surrounding neighborhoods and to share job and transportation information with residents.
  • Manage the majority of Campus parking systems and coordinate parking supply and demand with member institutions and collaborate through the TMA to pro-actively addresses similar issues on a more regional basis.
    • City & BNMC Announce Tentative Agreement for Long Term Lease of Ellicott Goodrich Garage


  • In partnership with National Grid, we recently introduced the Fruit Belt Neighborhood Solar Partnership, an energy savings opportunity that includes free installation of rooftop solar systems for participating residents, limited roof repairs and opportunities to participate in additional energy efficiency programs.
  • Using the Medical Campus as a “city within a city,” we test new models of energy in conjunction with National Grid and other partners that can benefit the Campus and our surrounding neighborhoods. In 2015, New York State awarded the BNMC a $100,000 grant as part of the NY Prize Community Micro-grid Competition with the goal of developing the Campus and surrounding areas as a self-sustainable energy hub able to offset utility outages or natural disasters, enhancing reliability and resiliency.

Health & Active Living:

  • Began working with the Allentown and Fruit Belt leadership in 2003 to secure funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, leading to more than $1 million to implement Active Living by Design, Healthy Eating by Design, and Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Buffalo, national programs to study and implement healthy eating and active living policy and environmental-change initiatives to support healthier communities in the local neighborhoods. The programs directly led to securing more than $12M in funding for infrastructure changes on and around the Campus, and ten policy changes were realized including establishing policy goals, the creation of a Food Policy Council and changes to city land use laws.

Four Neighborhoods, One Community Master Plan

Since its inception, the BNMC has met regularly with neighborhood leaders, and in 2008 the BNMC, in partnership with the City of Buffalo and the Fruit Belt and Allentown neighborhoods, embarked on a planning process called Four Neighborhoods, One Community designed to capture previous planning efforts and empower community members to speak with one voice about the changes they would like to see in their neighborhoods.

In addition, the plan takes into account the connectivity to downtown Buffalo. The award-winning Queen City Hub: A Regional-Action Plan for Downtown serves as the plan for downtown Buffalo. This plan can be viewed on the Urban Design Project website.

This comprehensive approach is designed to further integrate Medical Campus-wide planning efforts as well as those of the individual BNMC institutions with those occurring in the surrounding community, specifically Allentown, the Fruit Belt, and downtown Buffalo. The objective is coordinated planning and development that reflects an integrated and complimentary approach to effectively represent four distinct areas as a single community, ultimately resulting in a shared neighborhood benefit to all of the growth happening on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This will ensure that the resources going into the BNMC do not result in positive impact only within their boundaries but shared by the surrounding community.

Four Neighborhoods, One Community is designed to position Buffalo as a national model for how the BNMC as an urban campus and economic development engine can effectively develop and grow in conjunction with surrounding neighborhoods for the benefit of the greater community.

The BNMC and the City hosted four community forums in 2008 in both Allentown and the Fruit Belt. More than 100 residents, business owners, and community members gathered to discuss the changes they would like to see in their neighborhoods.

This process was led by Sasaki Associates and Madden Planning Group, planning and urban design firms with experience integrating neighborhoods and economic development engines to benefit the greater community.

Many thanks to the John R. Oishei Foundation for providing the funding for this initiative.