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Cheektowaga beaming with Chick-fil-A, Garden Village Plaza additions

WBFO's Mike Desmond

A new restaurant in a new building, a new office and light manufacturing space in a long-closed plaza area. Mike Desmond reports Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski says both are a sign of continuing confidence in her town for the future.

Demolitions are a sign of confidence in her town. So said Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski, as crews were at work demolishing most of the former Garden Village Plaza so new light manufacturing and office space can be built, while a different set of workers is demolishing the former Famous Dave's restaurant on Walden Avenue to be replaced with the first-in-the-region Chick-fil-A restaurant.

The supervisor said the town has spent a decade trying to find a use for the now-closed Garden Village Plaza site at French and Union roads - a gateway into the town.

"The whole area has been suffering, the residents, depreciation of home values in that area," said Benczkowski. "So I think with this new campus of office space, warehouse space, that will bring in new businesses in the area and new residents."

Benczkowski said the office and light manufacturing concept can work, as it works at nearby Appletree Business Park, which was reborn from the closed Como Mall.

Credit WBFO's Mike Desmond
Demolition at the Garden Village Plaza is underway at the overgrown parking lot and empty storefronts.

"To office-slash-warehouse space," she said. "They employ higher-paying jobs versus a retail job. So I'm hoping with this new complex that Benderson is putting in the Garden Village area will produce many better paying jobs than retail."

Benczkowski said the new Chick-fil-A also will help attract people and dollars into her town, and Cheektowaga residents like the idea of new things coming in.

"We do want to bring businesses into our town. That's does help the economy," she said. "It helps the tax base. It helps the residents and bringing in visitors who spend money in the town also. "

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.