From the Neighborhood:
We have a tremendous asset in the city of Buffalo: neighborhood groups. These groups, block clubs, business associations, non-profit community development and human service providers, are in every neighborhood of our wonderful city. With limited resources, they empower themselves to improve their respective streets, commercial strips, and communities. Although they are the foundation of our neighborhoods, when working alone, they are like loose strands of thread. When working with one another and interwoven with government, they can become the fabric of our community.
In January of 1996, the City of Buffalo created the Mayors Neighborhood Matching Fund Program. Modeled after a successful program in the City of Seattle, the goal of the program is to take advantage of Buffalos strongest asset, its people, and provide them with the opportunity to improve their community. Collaborative efforts that focus on neighborhood planning, improvement, organizing and neighborhood/school partnerships, contribute to this programs success.
In just two years, the program has provided assistance to almost 250 neighborhood based groups. And while the city has provided assistance totaling more than half a million dollars to these organizations, the greatest attribute of this program is derived from the community. Its success is due to the match aspect. Community groups must contribute the equivalent of what they are requesting from the city in either cash, in-kind services, and/or volunteer labor.
Who knows what is best for a community than the people who live there? The matching fund program allows people to look at the strengths and weaknesses of their neighborhood and build on them or correct them.
The Mayors Neighborhood Matching fund program takes advantage of our resources by bringing them together-from the bottom up strengthening the fabric of our citys neighborhoods.
Mayor Masiellos Neighborhood Matching Fund Coordinator
The Masten District, which spans from Canisius College to American Axle, and Central Park Plaza to Martin Luther King Park, is normally referred to as the East Side. However, the Masten District is not the East Side of the city of Buffalo; rather the central part of the city. This is why the redevelopment and growth of the Masten District is so important to the progress of the city of Buffalo.
Years ago, the Masten District had numerous commercial strips, the most popular being Jefferson Avenue, and many manufacturing plants. African Americans moved into the district via the south (Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina) for labor positions. As the manufacturing plants closed, work dried up. Those who once labored in the plants were not cross trained for other work and were forced into either early retirement or unemployment. This did not only happen in the Masten District, but throughout Buffalo and Western New York. Now, Buffalo is on its way back up, and Masten is playing an integral part in this renaissance.
The Masten District is on the move. People can see a marked improvement in the delivery of the city services and the overall perception of the district. Masten is better and people are feeling more optimistic about our future.
One area where Masten leads the pack is in the youth population. Twenty-two percent of the district is in primary, elementary or secondary high school. Due to this, the Masten District has several youth services and facilities to accommodate our growing youth population. Programs like CEPAs are so important to our district because our youth need outlets other than sports to display their talents and to express themselves. CEPA has provided this opportunity through Buffalo: Portrait of a City.
We believe that a positive attitude is contagious. Come and visit the Masten District to see our progress.
Byron W. Brown
Masten District Councilmember
The Ellicott District makes up Buffalos Lower West Side. With a population of about 13,000, it stretches from the Peace Bridge gateway, along the Niagara Street business district, almost all the way to City Hall. The District is an historic zone of emergence where successive generations of immigrants have arrived, become established, and often, moved up and out. Focusing attention toward the redevelopment of the area, the City of Buffalo has begun a comprehensive effort to build new housing, rehabilitate existing homes, and improve the neighborhood environment.
Roscoe C. Henderson III
Throughout my travels across the United States, what has become very apparent to me is that access provides opportunities.
Access to love, education and art allow people to develop. I have a strong passion for art; and I believe it is a universal language which holds no boundaries. Art enables us to communicate through shared senses: touch, sight and hearing; and the beauty of art is found in individual interpretation.
The art of photography captures a moment of reality and then freezes it. These photographs tell a story of a thousand words reflecting the best of our communityour children.
These youngsters were given access to their communities through art and through their accomplishments we have access to Buffalo: Portrait of a City
From the Neighborhood,
Roscoe C. Henderson III
Roscoe C. Henderson III, is a life-long resident of the Ellicott District. He is the Legislative Assistant to the Councilmember Barbara Miller-Williams, and serves on CEPAs Board of Directors.