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Tourism & community partnerships touted for Michigan Street Corridor

WBFO News file photo

Plans to create a tourist destination around the Buffalo's Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor were outlined at two public hearings Tuesday at City Hall. 

Over the last four years, the Corridor Commission has worked on a plan that will highlight Buffalo's rich African American history. 

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Corridor Commission chair Karen Stanley Fleming appeared in Common Council Chambers Tuesday to present plan

Corridor Commission chair Karen Stanley Fleming presented a management plan required in order to seek funding from the New York State Parks and Historic Preservation. 

"Several blocks in and around the corner of Broadway and Michigan, many, many buildings are now gone. There are many vacant lots in this area, but it is something that is ripe for revitalization," said Fleming.  

Credit WBFO News file photo
Michigan & Broadway, Buffalo

Fleming said it is time for implementation. The plan would create an economic impact and form new partnerships.

"We've already started to pursue those with the Zoo and Buffalo State College," said Fleming.

The  corridor encompasses Michigan and Broadway and includes the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Underground Railroad and the Nash House.  

Michael Hill with Langston Hughes Institute of Buffalo, which recently relocated in the Michigan corridor area, said the Institute is excited, but cautious.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Michael Hill voices concerns for future development of Michigan Corridor

"You have an African American community that is very, very challenged in the business sector," noted Hill.  "So now you have a great opportunity to move forward in a business way, but your community doesn't have a lot of black business infrastructure ready to come to the table to say 'wow' let's take advantage of this opportunity."

Ellicott District Common Council member Darius Pridgen says the public has waited far too long to see the corridor developed.  

"It has not moved at the pace I feel it needs to move," said Pridgen. "Something has to change."

Pridgen wants the project to be a priority of the Brown Administration.  The plan will be before the Common Council for future approval.