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If I Had a Billion Dollars: Shrink the City

Our Best of Buffalo poll this year included an essay question: How would you invest a billion dollars in the welfare of Western New York? We’re posting an answer every day until we run out of good answers:

Joseph Logue writes:

First of all, the whole premise epitomizes where Buffalo has gone wrong.  Note how you have to leave town to make a billion.  I have not lived in Buffalo for twenty years and it breaks my heart every time I’m invited to join some Facebook group or another in an effort to save a building or improve civic life with absolutely zero results.  That said, with a billion burning a hole in my pocket I would work towards unincorporating those vast swaths of Buffalo that are decimated — no homes, no businesses.  Condense its forty square miles to half that size, and reward those who stay in Buffalo and work towards its betterment with a more vibrant and dynamic city.  Main St (from UB to downtown and its environs) needs a thorough sprucing up — the whole stretch is shabby beyond belief.  Forget lofts and condos, I’d make downtown the site of the next Bills’ stadium, work toward a new bridge to Canada (seriously, what is taking you so long?), and close the useless subway.  All those great old buildings need to be reused, so foster a tech boom — make the entire city WiFi starting with downtown.  Start a film festival in October, surely the loveliest time of year.  I wonder, though, if a billions is enough.

  • Hapklein

    What Buffalo needs is removal of the expressways; reestablishment of street cars including the commuter track around the city; parkland a half mile wide along each waterway; reestablish the Ellicott Grid and remove all obstructions and urban gardens in common trust in every neighborhood.
    We must remove the golf courses from all city parks and build new separate ones and remove all game fields from the parks and build separate fields.
    Build a Law and Urban affairs branch of SUNYAB downtown.
    Remove the skyway and replace Route 5 with Parkland.
    Reestablish the Olmstead design in south park.
    End the ridiculous water authority.
    Don’t let one single elected official have anything to do with these improvements other than funding the maintenance.

  • “I’d . . . close the useless subway”

    Must be nice to have a car.