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Historic livery stable selected as culinary school site

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

A nationally-recognized building in Downtown Buffalo is being recommended as the site for the city's new hospitality school. Not all school board members were pleased to hear that the C. W. Miller Livery Building site on Huron will be home for the Buffalo High School for Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management.

A key factor is the building's location across a parking lot from the Emerson School on Chippewa, the city's very successful current hospitality school. Emerson has been so successful, the district began the process to create another similar school, starting its third class this fall.

"First and foremost, we want to capitalize on the opportunity to create and market a hospitality campus within the same city block," said Associate Superintendent James Weimer.

"The existing Emerson restaurant sales have doubled over the past three-years due to the volume of the foot traffic in the neighborhood."

While some hailed the synergy involved in the decision, not all were happy with the location.

"Please do not paint the picture that that area is safe. It is not," said Board Member Sharon Belton Cottman.

"I walked it today, to see exactly what was going on up in there and there's a drug clinic down there, a needle exchange program up in that area. There's a lot of stuff going on down there."

Evergreen Health does offer a needle exchange program from a nearby site.

Proponents say the new culinary site will allow students to walk to internship opportunities at nearby hotels and restaurants.

"I'd like to see more information, if it has to be in executive session," said Board Member Paulette Woods.

The board eventually decided to come back June 7 to receive more information about the five sites that were considered for the school.

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.