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Simpson: Buffalo and Western New York in Jeopardy!

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.

  • just askin

    Why are they still planning on buying up McCarley Gardens if the whole plan is in jeopardy? Something doesn’t smell right, but that’s no big surprise where Simpson is involved.

  • Peter A Reese

    I agree with Johnnie Simpson. The sky really is falling. Why doesn’t he just leave before it’s too late?

  • Jay

    Simpson’s UB 2020 plan has captured the dreams and thought processes of most our business,community and political leaders. Somehow it has not captured the thinking process of the average person on the street. I guess I would like to ask what does it say about each group?

  • Good Luck Getting Approval from HUD






    970.8 – PHA application for HUD approval.

    Written approval by HUD shall be required before the PHA may undertake any transaction involving demolition or disposition. To request approval, the PHA shall submit an application to the appropriate HUD Field Office which includes the following: (a) A description of the property involved; (b) A description of, as well as a timetable for, the specific action proposed (including, in the case of disposition, the specific method proposed); (c) A statement justifying the proposed demolition or disposition under one or more of the applicable criteria of 970.6 or 970.7; (d) If applicable, a plan for the relocation of tenants who would be displaced by the proposed demolition or disposition (see 970.5). The relocation plan must at least indicate: (1) The number of tenants to be displaced; (2) What counseling and advisory services the PHA plans to provide; (3) What housing resources are expected to be available to provide housing for displaced tenants; (4) An estimate of the costs for counseling and advisory services and tenant moving expenses, and the expected source for payment of these costs (see 970.9); and (5) The minimum official notice that the PHA will give tenants before they are required to move; (e) A description of the PHA’s consultations with tenants and any tenant organizations (as required under 970.4(a)), with copies of any written comments which may have been submitted to the PHA and the PHA’s evaluation of the comments; (f) A replacement housing plan, as required under 970.11, and approved by the unit of general local government which approval shall be provided by the chief executive officer of the jurisdiction in which the project is located (e.g., the mayor or the county executive), indicating approval of the replacement plan

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  • JM

    Guess his book isn’t picking up much traction on its own