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Williamsville forum reviews village's historic structures

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Williamsville and Larkinville got together last night to talk about building on the past for the future. The public meeting at Williamsville South High School focused on how a community's history can be a spark for a better economic future.

Both the old village and the new tourist attraction shared information last night, with Larkinville's Leslie Zemsky talking about how a string of old warehouses turned into a hot attracter of businesses and partiers. She was there because Williamsville is trying to build on its status as a 200-year-old community mixing housing and shopping close together.

Mayor Brian Kulpa says his village is recognizing its existing strong housing and its schools.

"We think there's opportunity to build more housing in this area, specifically along Main Street and diversify our housing so that we can make some opportunity for people to move into some of those older homes," Kulpa said.

"People are willing to move into those older homes partially because they want the experience. They want that urban experience but in a suburban setting."

Zemsky told the meeting Larkinville built on its success in attracting offices to renovated warehouses and then went into food, food trucks and attractions and is now starting to attract housing investment. She likes the shopping in Williamsville and the urban density of the village mixing housing and shopping.

Kulpa says a key goal is slowing traffic on Main Street to help shoppers cross the street.

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.