Simpson: Buffalo and Western New York in Jeopardy!
by Buck Quigley - posted 3:31 pm, March 29, 2010
Sounding like 16th century seer and History Channel superstar Nostradamus (right), UB President John B. Simpson (left) announced some apocalyptic visions for our region at a press conference today at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.
Then, when asked about UB’s plan to purchase 15 acres of land right outside the window, uprooting 150 moderate-income families in the process, the visionary’s answer seemed more cloudy. But then, not everyone is convinced it’s such a good idea. Here is the exchange…
Artvoice: Is part of the UB 2020 plan still to absorb McCarley Gardens, right across the street, and relocate the 150 families who live there now?
Simpson: (without glancing out the window) I think that UB 2020 itself, the whole plan, is in jeopardy. And that includes the downtown medical campus—it’s at risk. The opportunity for the creation of jobs, the economic well-being of the community, and for the excellence in education—which drives all of those things—simply put, whether it’s here we’re talking about, the North Campus, or the South Campus—those are all at risk.
Thankfully, UB Director of Media Relations John Della Contrada was able to confirm that there would be an announcement shortly concerning an agreement between UB and Michael Chapman, Pastor of St. John Baptist Church and CEO of Oak-Michigan Housing Development Fund Company, Inc., to sell the property. Della Contrada said he’d get back to me today, but I’ve been waiting two weeks on a confirmation from him.
So, after careful readings of various heavenly bodies, tea leaves, and tarot cards, I am predicting that the announcement will take place April 5. I’m also divining that because several sources outside of UB and the church have told me so.
Further, it was just confirmed by a phone call to Crystal Peoples-Stokes’s office. The Assemblywoman is scheduled to appear at the event at 11am at the B.W. Smith Family Life Center, 833 Michigan Avenue.
Now will someone please call HUD, and ask them how they feel about the most successful moderate-income housing development in the city being sold after they’ve poured millions and millions of taxpayer dollars into it over the past 30 years?
They, after all, would have to approve such a sale. And a renewal contract signed in 2005 between HUD and Oak-Michigan Housing Development Fund Company—obtained by Artvoice through a FOIA request—indicates that the contract runs for a period of twenty years.
That would be 2025. And that would screw up the whole 2020 prediction.