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Documentary explores historic Buffalo neighborhood

Mike Desmond/WBFO

"Our Stories, Our Neighborhood" was on the big screen at the restored Varsity Theatre. The documentary is about the history of the Kensington-Bailey community and how it has changed over the years.

Much of the film revolves around one of Kensington-Bailey's oldest residents, 96-year-old Harold Meacham,  who has lived in the community for more than 90 years. 

"It was pretty exciting because, well, we started out with a mud street on Stockbridge," Meacham recalled.

"Once they paved it, then everybody showed up with their skates and skateboards and it was rather exciting because we had our own play yard right out in front."

Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt was deeply involved in preparing the documentary. He says the Varsity is an example of what he wants the whole Kensington-Bailey area to be, with more stores and more diverse owners on Bailey and Kensington.

"This is a theater that was vibrant years ago and I'm hopeful that it will be vibrant once again. It's slowly but surely showing its vibrancy. Having this movie here is, I think, perfect," said Wyatt.

The councilmember says programs like Promise Neighborhood are helping improve the community and are having an impact.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.