Category Archives: CTRC

Derek and Amanda retire from the CTRC

This year marks the tenth that Amanda and I have been volunteers with the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation, and my fourth serving on the Board of Directors.  The CTRC is in the best position it’s ever been in to succeed and move into the future, and with that knowledge Amanda and I are both “retiring” from our roles.

It’s tough to leave an organization that you’ve been so heavily invested in for so long.  I went from being just one of the volunteers, removing broken glass and boarding up problematic access points, to being on several committees, to serving as PR lead, volunteer coordinator, IT guy, and eventually being elected to the Board and as Treasurer.  Amanda similarly served in a number of different roles – as merchandise coordinator, volunteer coordinator, and this year developed the CTRC’s first official docent training program.

I’m amazed and proud at how far the organization has come.  We’ve grown our income by leaps and bounds.  We’ve put out a master plan, showing how the building could be redeveloped in a phased approach.  We’ve landed grants from a number of organizations, including a $300,000 grant from New York State for canopy restoration and two grants from the Wendt Foundation which have allowed us to fund an executive director.  We’ve brought national media attention to the building on a number of occasions.  Most importantly, we’ve completed the first phase of replacing the roof – a major step in rehabilitation of the Central Terminal.

So why leave?  Life is different today than it was ten years ago.  When Amanda and I started, we were just married and had no kids.  I was blown away by the Terminal and the fact that such an amazing building existed in Buffalo that I never even knew about, and I lived in WNY my whole life.  It was clear that the building and the organization could use all the help it could get and I had time to give.  Now, we have a daughter starting kindergarten and a preschooler still at home.  Our weeknights and weekends are more precious than ever.  Career-wise, I’ve moved up the ladder and as such things go it requires more time and focus.  I frankly don’t feel like sitting in front of the computer for a few hours in the evening after being glued to it all day anymore.

The organization is different now as well.  We have a Board of Directors with a much wider range of skills and experience.  We have an Executive Director who can serve the daily needs of the organization.  We have more volunteers serving as leaders in key roles.  The CTRC’s focus now isn’t on basic fundraising events and keeping the lights on, but major restoration and preparation for tenants.  It’s not the scrappy scramble that it used to be, which is a good thing, even if I do miss it from time to time – the feeling that individually you are essential to the success of an event, a project, or a goal.  Of course, the organization can’t grow and thrive if it never advances past that stage, and I’m comfortable in knowing that I’m stepping back at the highest point thus far in the organization’s success with a group of talented people pushing it forward.

I chose to “retire” from the Board on September 1st – Mike Miller Day, as proclaimed by the Mayor of Buffalo at Mike’s wake four years ago.  It seemed fitting, given that it was Mike’s enthusiasm and inclusiveness that cemented my dedication to the CTRC, and his unfortunate passing that ultimately led to me serving in a greater capacity.  I’m sure Mike would be proud of the work that Amanda and I, and the entire organization has done in his absence.  I look forward to being at the Central Terminal’s grand re-opening celebration some day, knowing that we played a role in it’s survival and revival.

Terminal-Lightroom

Suburbanites For Buffalo?? Imagine That! (rant warning)

I am getting bored with being called names by some people in the city for only wanting to help. True, we do not live in the City of Buffalo, but on vacations and work trips when asked where we live, the answer is always – “Buffalo, NY”. Not Orchard Park, or Williamsville, or Hamburg. The city is an intregral part of all of us, suburban or urban dwellers. Both my Husband’s family and my own came from the streets of the city. My family grew up on Elk and Smith Streets and Derek’s family on Swinburne. In fact, my Great Grandparents on my Mother’s side helped to BUILD St.’s Rita and Patrick Church on Fillmore and Eagle St. in the city.

I can understand the devotion some people have to the city, especially still living in it. However, we CHOSE to move out into the suburbs, not because we don’t love the city, but because we wanted to. Our choice. But that doesn’t mean that we want to city to rot and go to hell! We do what we do because we care about what happens to this great place full of interesting architecture and promise. You should be happy that there are suburbanites who do support the city still! We go to the Broadway market, to baseball games, to dinner, shopping and geocaching! I can understand that you might be upset that we have opinons about the laws and politicians that are involved in the political scene in the city. But guess what? It is only an opinion! We can’t vote on anything because we don’t live there!! So all of the urbanities still get what they want because it is their vote, not ours!

I say all of this because I needed to stand up. Not only MY history lives on in the city, but my Husband’s and many of our freinds as well. Why put us down because we want to help? Why push us away when all we have to give you is time, money and a thought of a better place to work, live and visit for everyone? Is it a dream? Maybe. But I would think in this case we’re all on the same side, so let’s all try to get along, no matter where we are coming from now. Because when you look back far enough? We all came from the same place anyway.

Seeing the Light

Today I finally got a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel we at the Central Terminal are working towards. It wasn’t that anyone offered to buy the building or donate tons of money to us. No. It was much more subtle and to be honest I’m not sure why, today after almost 2 years of volunteering, at the SCVA Art Show it happened. Maybe it was just repeating the same stories or telling our hopes and dreams for the building to people over and over and over. But I suddenly could envision the buidling cleaned up and being used again for something. I looked around our concourse with all the art panels up, music playing from the mezzanine, people milling around with drinks and food and suddenly I felt very proud of the building and what we are attempting to do there. I have loved the building from the beginning, it truly does draw you in, making you want to help presereve it as if it whispers quietly to your soul of the grandeur it used to be and wishes to be once again. But today it became very real to me, what we are doing there. Both Derek and I have made many very good friends there now, it is something we can call our own in a way. I am so proud and humbled by this group and the extent of the work we are trying so hard to keep up. We have come such a long way and we have so much further to go. But today I saw the light and now know what it will feel like in the years to come when we DO realize our goals, being able to sit back and know that WE were a part of that work coming to fruition, that together WE made a difference to the building, the city and hopefully to peoples lives.

Let me tell you, it felt DAMN good. And I know that we will be a part of this group for the long haul, through thick and thin, good and bad, until our work here is done.