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New East Side housing project part of neighborhood's rebranding

File photo

If the Community Action Organization has its way, Buffalo will be getting a new housing project and a new neighborhood name on the city's East Side.The CAO has been working on rebuilding the area around the old Deaconess Hospital and now it is planning $23 million in housing as Deaconess Heights, where the hospital used to be.

President and CEO Nathan Hare says as the agency's projects expand, the name Greater Martin Luther King Park District, is being used.  Hare says he wants to brand the community the same way the area near Delaware Park is known as Parkside.

Hare says the new project consists of 75 homes on the hospital site near an earlier project, Saint Martin Village.

"We're designing this in a way that it will both fit the motif of Saint Martin Village, but it will also fit with the existing architecture in the community. So you will have gable type roofs, you will have porches, you will have lawn spaces different depths, but the community will feel like they're a part of the community. It won't feel like like it's a different community than the one they are living in right now," Hare says.

Hare says the schedule calls for the financing to fall into place late this year. Construction will start in the spring and everything should be done in early summer 2015.

He says with the housing going in just across the Kensington Expressway from MLK Park, the city's new splash pad in the park can be a sign of the neighborhood and an asset in persuading people to move in.

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.