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Central Terminal master plan unveiled

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photo courtesy of city-data.com
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By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-957016.mp3

Buffalo, NY – The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation released details Thursday of its $75-million master plan for the landmark building on Buffalo's East Side.

The imposing Terminal tower soars above an impoverished neighborhood that appears to have long since given up. But Corporation and elected officials said the Central Terminal stands in defiance of time and challenges. Common Council President David Fronczak said it is a metaphor of the city itself.

"It's like a symbol for the city of Buffalo. It's taken a lot of shots. It's taken a lot of blows. People have disrespected it. But here it is great and majestic as it always has been and will be in the years to come," said Fronczak.

Now, the all-volunteer board says it is time to move the terminal into the future. The comprehensive plan calls for mixed use development.

The tower would be renovated into residential lofts. The baggage building turned into offices. The concourse would have mixed retail and remain open for public events. And trains might one day return for light or high speed rail. Paul Lang of of the Corporation's architectural committee said the key is to renovate the terminal in phases.

"Everybody had ideas of certain components, but they could never figure out how to piece the whole building togther," said Lang.

Stabilization of the tower alone will cost nearly three million dollars. But board members said they now have a manageable 5-10 year plan for restoring the terminal to its full architectural integrity. Corporation president Mark Lewandowski said that will be done hand in hand with restoring the integrity of the neighborhood.

"There need to be more opportunity in this part of the world here, in this part of the city of Buffalo," said Lewandowski. "And we're sensitive to that. It's not all about building a building and sticking a gate around it - that is not part of the equation at all."

Part of the outreach includes an urban habitat classroom that is planned for the parklands along Memorial Drive. Work on that could begin this spring.

You can view the Central Terminal master plan at The Central Terminal Restoration Corporation web site.