Congressman Brian Higgins expressed his support of the creation of a Western Gateway welcoming patients, visitors and employees of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) into the historic Allentown neighborhood. The City of Buffalo’s Mayor Byron Brown and the President of the Allentown Association, Ed Castine are in support of the project as well.
With a total of $6.8 million from the Federal Highway Administration and other resources, the Allentown Association and the City of Buffalo supports the enhancement of the urban experience at the intersection of Allen and Main Streets connecting the Allentown neighborhood and business district with the Medical Campus. The University at Buffalo’s (UB) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will bring 1,200 new employees to the Medical Campus, this in addition to other planned developments will more than double the 2012 employee base of 8,500 to more than 17,500 by the year 2016. The City of Buffalo’s 2012-2013 Capital Budget has $100,000 designated for design work for improvements on Allen Street. Nearly $2 million will be needed for the conversion of Kevin’s Walk to the public right-of-way with enhanced amenities for pedestrians from Washington Street to North Oak Street. The remaining funds will be used for additional infrastructure development moving from Main Street westward along Allen Street.
Higgins encouraged partners who will make the gateway possible to move forward with zeal and urgency since the funds designated for the Allen Street Extension have been redirected. “The rapid growth of the Medical Campus brings exciting new opportunities for Buffalo and Western New York. We must act urgently to harness the good things happening here. There is great potential for local business and job growth as well as quality of life enhancements” stated Higgins. “Improvements to the western gateway would tap into that potential and significantly benefit the Allentown community.”
Emphasizing the desire to spread the fruit of the economic development taking place on the BNMC, the campus’s President and CEO, Matt Enstice, stated that “This project will facilitate that and reassert the importance of sustainability – both in supporting the built environment that already exists and leveraging new investment to create a modern, walkable environment unlike anything Buffalo has seen in this post-industrial era.”
The streetscape and infrastructure improvements will help to further connect businesses, restaurants, and residents in the Allentown neighborhood with the large population of patients, visitors, employees who travel to the BNMC daily. This development will bring new life and economic activity to the already lively Allentown neighborhood. The Western Gateway will serve as a welcoming presence to the historic neighborhood and compliment the significant opportunity the relocation of UB’s Medical School represents for the Allentown neighborhood, the Medical Campus, the City of Buffalo and the Western New York region.