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LISTEN ON DEMAND: THIS AMERICAN LIFE tribute to the 10 killed in the Tops Market shootings.

Leaders hoping to make African American Heritage Corridor a tourist draw

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Plans to turn a historic section of Buffalo's East Side into a tourist destination received a shot in the arm Thursday when Lt. Governor Robert Duffy presented a ceremonial $250,000 check to the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission.

Commission Chairperson Karen Stanley Fleming says dozens of volunteers are working to bring the corridor's historic buildings to life for the rest of America.  

"We want to be a tourist destination such that people come to Buffalo for the specific purpose of looking at the African American Heritage Corridor, and we know that we have enough history here to keep their attention," Fleming said. 

The corridor starts at East Ferry Street and Masten Avenue and continues south to Woodlawn Avenue, then to Michigan Avenue, and ends at Swan Street, with several offshoots along the way.

Historic building along the corridor include the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Reverend Jesse Nash House Museum, the Colored Musicians Club and the Langston Hughes Institute.

“This corridor honors the city’s rich African American culture, and by attracting visitors to the area it will also help create jobs and new opportunities for the city’s residents," Governor Andrew Cuomo said, in a statement.

Funding for the project was authorized last September through the Western New York Economic Development Fund, which is underwritten by the New York Power Authority’s power proceeds initiative.