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Greiner Seeks to Put Downtown Debate to Rest

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – University at Buffalo President William Greiner says it's time to put to rest the more than three decade old criticism of UB for its decision to build the Amherst campus.

None of today's UB administrators were part of the decision to build the new campus in Amherst. But they continue to hear from critics who to this day lament the fact UB didn't expand downtown.

Greiner says he's looked into the history of that decision and found that the proposed downtown site wouldn't have been feasible. First and foremost, he said, the university would have taken land that today is enjoyed by users of the Erie Basin Marina and LaSalle Park.

"By the time we would have finished, it would have amounted to 400 acres," Greiner said. "We would have had to fill in a portion of the Black Rock Channel and Inner Harbor. We would have had to move 15,000 people out of their homes. And we would have had to figure out how to incorporate the old Memorial Auditorium and Donovan State Office Building into a campus of the University at Buffalo."

Greiner said it serves no good purpose to continue rehashing a decision made 35 years ago. He has said in the past he personally would have liked to see the university expand to the Grover Cleveland Golf Course. But community leaders at that time did not want to do that.

Greiner also defended his decision to pull out of an initiative to rehabilitate the University District's housing stock. He said UB was not earning the necessary return on its investment after a pilot project involving three homes. Continuing it, Greiner said, could not be justified.

Greiner said the university is acting in the best interest of the students by constructing new housing on the North Campus. He said that's where the majority of students attend classes, socialize and shop.