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Preserving Buffalo's Architectural Treasures

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Preservation Board Wednesday honored several local leaders for their help rebuilding some of Buffalo's architectural treasures.

Giant photographic images of the beautifully restored buildings lined the Mayor's office. And standing on the either side were their champions. In all, seven individuals or groups were honored at the third annual preservation awards ceremony.

Their names may be familiar ones. Carl Paladino, Dennis Murphy, the Moscati family, Charles Kushner, Larry Maxick, Chuck La Chiusa, and Public Works Commissioner Joseph Giambra. But likely even more familiar are the buildings they saved. Among them, Shea's Performing Arts Center, the former University Club, and the Mansion at 414 Delaware.

Dennis Murphy, who restored the Mansion says credit goes to the community.

"It takes a team of people from the community, from private business, from not-for-profits, whatever your case may be," said Murphy. "But I am very pleased and proud of the team that came together to put this project back in Buffalo's history."

Preservation's cause also got a boost yesterday from the county. Legislator Judy Fisher announced $50,000 in county funding for restoration of the Upper West Arts Center. at the former methodist church, which is being converted into a multi-use arts center. Fisher says Buffalo is finally catching on to the benefits of saving old churches.

"Boston has found ways to reuse their churches for theatres, for wide ranges of community activities," said Fisher. "So, here we've got an opportunity to mirror some of the projects of the larger cities."

Artistic Director Neil Radice says a variety of state and local grants have contributed to the restoration project, which is still about $350,000 away from completion.