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Charter school move to Buffum Street remains in doubt

Mike Desmond/WBFO

With Maritime Charter School agreeing to an archeological survey of the proposed site of a high school and athletic facility on Buffum Street, Buffalo's Common Council on Tuesday approved rescinding the special use permit for the project. The lawyer for opponents says that may have tangled the situation even more.


With a Native American man in a headdress waving an eagle feather sitting in the front row of the Council chamber, council members followed a legislation committee vote from last week and rescinded the permit which would have allowed the expansion.

Buffum was part of the Seneca Nation's Buffalo Creek Reservation. There was a cemetery down Buffum and it is not clear all bodies were removed.

Carl Jamieson says Indian cemeteries weren't organized burial sites and people were buried all over the land. A Cayuga with Seneca roots, Jamieson says Buffum is a bad site.

"Buffalo Creek and Buffum Street are sacred lands and very rich in history and I think that a lot of suggestions of putting a school on a place that's sacred territory, I think there are better places for Maritime schools," Jamiesen said.

Councilmember Chris Scanlon says this is being done at the request of Maritime Charter, to allow an archeological review.

Opponents lawyer Arthur Giacalone says the Council action also removed the permit allowing the Maritime middle school to operate in the old School 70. He says the matter is due in court within the next few weeks, although the date isn't set.

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.