Better Buffalo Fund blends housing, business and transit
David Robinson | The Buffalo News

By late 2016, Bay Area commuters will likely begin to see the first of a fleet of futuristic new BART trains barreling from San Francisco through the upper Peninsula, the East Bay and new stations slated to open in the coming years closer to Silicon Valley in Fremont, Milpitas and Northern San Jose.The Better Buffalo Fund, a $30 million program aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods within the city and encouraging housing, retail and business projects near public transportation, is the latest piece of the state’s Buffalo Billion economic-development initiative.

The fund, in the works for more than a year, is focused entirely on areas within the City of Buffalo and is targeting community-development initiatives that range in size from as little as $50,000 to as much as $2 million.

The idea is to encourage development along public transportation corridors that can spur retail and neighborhood-oriented businesses, along with the development of public spaces and walkways, state officials said Thursday.

The initiative is intended to strengthen major Buffalo residential neighborhoods along corridors served by public transportation so that growth in one area could spill over to other nearby neighborhoods.

“This money connects the employment opportunities created by the Buffalo Billion to neighborhood centers throughout Buffalo,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown.

The fund could create neighborhoods that are walkable and better connected to the jobs being created in the region, said Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo.

“We have seen the cost of unchecked sprawl,” she said. “It’s more difficult and expensive to serve transportation and infrastructure needs as people spread out.” Read more