Monday evening the first Broadway Fillmore Alive meeting occured at the Buffalo Central Terminal. It was well attended and the group’s main philosophy and agenda for the coming months was discussed.
First to speak was Chris Byrd, one of the founding members. He welcomed everyone and explained that the function of this group is to “not be political activists for the area, but to promote the area and provide positive solutions to the problems seen there.” He stressed that Broadway Fillmore Alive is attempting to advocate all groups in the area together to help each benefit from different events that happen on the east side. “We want people to come back to the neighborhood and let the world know what is happening here and what the potential here is,” Chris told those attending.
Some of the ways he suggested to do this included to resurrect the community newspaper to distribute the information given on the website to the people in the comunity who do not have access to computers so they know what is going on in their neighborhoods. He also wants to have cohesive planning between the many groups that are working along side this one to revitalize the area. One idea he suggested was having a mass tulip planting on Memorial Drive. This would give the area the look of being ‘Alive’ during the Spring months when the Broadway Market is at its peak season as well as giving the community something to be a part of. He also recognized the power of the many different religious groups in the area, many of which are buying up nearby houses, fixing them up and selling them to congregation members and creating their own communities. Examples of these are St. Stan’s, the Mosque on Sobieski and the Buddhist Temple.
Chris made it clear that there is much need for more volunteers within the group. Additional writers are needed for the website to keep up with the influx of information/events that are being planned, people are needed to attend the regular meetings in the area including block club meetings and the Broadway Area Building Association. He is also hoping to get a listing together of both houses and businesses for reference purposes.
Next to speak was Michele Johnson, co-producer of the documentary “Flipped” and co-founder of Broadway Fillmore Alive. Her focus is on the housing issues in the area and she works in the neighborhoods as a liason to the city housing court. “There is a fine line between the people who need help and who want it,” she said. She has learned the hard way how to pick and choose her battles and understands that much of the change will occur by living by example.
Michele requested help for her group in the following ways, finding contact people for each street on the East Side to be contacted as much as on a weekly basis in order to keep track of what is happening on that street, any problems, etc. Volunteers to cut grass in vacant lots, to maintain a cleaner look and people to help fill out community reports.
Michael Miller was the last of the group to speak. He is the Treasurer of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation as well as the a co-founder of Broadway Fillmore Alive. His focus is architechturally based and he wants to take advantage of these structures for bringing in tourism to the area. He has a list of over 479 architectually important buildings on the East Side and is “amazed at how much we don’t see every day.”
His group is in need of volunteers to help document these buildings for the record to not only get word out there that these buildings exist, but to take the database to the common council for reference purposes. He also wants pictures of these buildings, both inside and out, to publish on the website so people can see what they really look like. Many times people use the internet as an starting point for real estate investment, so if they could that there are magnificent buildings on the East Side, it might draw them into the neighborhood to look more closely. This could have a great impact not only for leasing and sales of buildings, but for tourism as well.
Some questions and comments were taken before the meeting was adjourned with many positive comments to be heard! Congrats on a successful first meeting!!