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Survey of Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood to identify sites for preservation

WBFO file photo/Eileen Buckley

Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood has changed significantly over the past few decades. While there are many obvious landmarks that are deemed worthy of preserving, there are also lesser-known properties that neighborhood activists want spared from demolition. An effort is getting underway to catalog them.

For the next six months, this Historic East Side Neighborhood Initiative and Preservation Buffalo Niagara will conduct a survey, identifying properties that have a historic significance. For example, the former home of Buffalo's first health commissioner, Dr. Francis Fronczak, and the childhood home of Lt. Col. Matt Urban, who is recognized by many as the most decorated U.S. combat veteran to date.

"This is actually an update of an earlier study," said Jessie Fisher, executive director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. "The City of Buffalo did a study in 2003 that identified landmarks and identified potential historic districts in this area. A lot has changed in the intervening 13 years, so our first step is to update that previous survey."

Fisher says a consultant has been hired and HESNI has received a $7,000 grant to complete the survey. A list of recommendations to the public is expected to be completed by the spring of 2017.

Fisher and her associates say the project is more than just preserving a bunch of old buildings. They see it as preserving a unique identity or spirit that people are now appreciating when they move into the city.

"There are so many interesting things that young people and millennials are beginning to rediscover," Fisher said. "There are interesting old neighborhood bars that have been there for generations. There are really interesting cultural sites. Younger people and entrepreneurs and the creative crafter types are always attracted to unique spaces. We are hoping to get Broadway-Fillmore more in people's imaginations in that way."

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