Planning 101: Don’t Leave Out the Residents

Residents of the Fruitbelt’s McCarley Gardens development aren’t happy with the planning effort underway that would see their neighborhood displaced to make room for the University at Buffalo.  The following letter was sent to the Chair of the University of Buffalo Foundation, Francis Letro, and copied to local media.

January 15, 2013

Dear Mr. Letro,

This is a follow up to our request made during the University at Buffalo/ St. John Baptist Church conversation with the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Community on Economic Opportunity held on December 13, 2012.

The purpose of the meeting was to open dialogue between all parties:  UB, St. John and Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens residence (the public). The goal being, to find ways to increase the University’s presence in the Fruit Belt area.

Our problem was that there was an agreement entered between you, The University at Buffalo Foundation, Inc and St. John. The agreement required that a panel be appointed. The problem was that none of the members of the panel has ever lived, worked or played in the Fruit Belt/McCarley Gardens Community.

We requested that the panel be dissolved and a new panel convene that would include neighborhood representatives at a ratio of two to one, we requested that a copy of the contract be made available to us, so that we would know the terms, conditions, timetable and goals. Also, we asked for a copy of UB’s development plans for this site.

We requested that an answer be given to us by January 31, 2013.

We haven’t heard from you and thought that maybe communication broke down and you haven’t received our request because of the holidays. WE ask that you would let us know your answer as soon as possible and that all future meetings concerning the Fruit Belt and McCarley Gardens Communities be open to the public and the press.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Veronica at 716-XXX-XXXX or Lorraine at 716- XXX-XXXX.

Thank you for your consideration,

Veronica Hemphill-Nichols, Fruit Belt
Lorraine Chambley, McCarley Gardens

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