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$3.5 million Children's Academy opens in 'Promise Neighborhood'

The latest addition in a $31 million public-private investment in one of Buffalo's poorest neighborhoods is officially open. The ribbon was cut Friday on The Buffalo Promise Neighborhood Children's Academy. The $3.5 million project was funded in part by M&T Bank. Chairman and CEO Robert Wilmers says the facility will be the foundation of academic success of neighborhood children.

"This new learning center is a robust investment in our youngest neighbors because we believe that every child in this city has boundless promise," Wilmers said Friday.

The academy on Bailey Avenue near Amherst Street is located across the street from the Westminster Community Charter School, which was adopted by M&T nearly 20 years ago. 150 children are enrolled in the center, which prepares kids for kindergarten.

Wilmers says the goal is to help ensure that all the city's residents are prepared to take advantage of the many new jobs being created here, like on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.  

"Those jobs will only be available to young men and young women who have completed a quality education. That education starts today," Wilmers said.

The one square mile Promise Neighborhood includes Highgate Heights Elementary School and Bennett High School.