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Buffalo to release mixed-income, mixed-use plan for Perry Projects

WBFO's Michael Mroziak

What to do with Buffalo's Commodore Perry public housing project? Some some replace it with a new football stadium. Congressman Brian Higgins says renovate it into affordable housing. Neighbors say the apartments still may not be affordable for them. On Monday, Buffalo's Mayor teased the city is working on another plan.

Mayor Byron Brown declined to release details, but said the "first phase" of the plan is set for release in the "very near future."

Some have suggested razing the 20 acres for a new downtown stadium. To that, Brown said he would "love" to see a stadium in Buffalo, but he has received no update on any such decision. The Pegulas have stated they are happy in Orchard Park for the time being.

Higgins has called for renovating the dozen long-vacant buildings into affordable housing.  He said the buildings are still structurally sound and would make ideal living conditions. However, the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority has not had the funds to re-open them.

Even if funds were available, neighbors Monday complained the apartments still may not be affordable to public housing residents under Higgins' plan. Brown said his plan accounts for the needs of people at all income levels.

"From those who are living in poverty, to workforce housing, to market-rate housing to upper-income housing, that kind of mix is critically important to having a healthy and vibrant city and we cannot have that if we make housing unaffordable for low-income residents and public housing tenants," Brown said.

Brown said public housing and low-income residents will have input, as well as local lawmakers and agencies. he said the city's plan also will respond to residents' complaints that repairs are not made in a timely manner.

"We do not want to see any displacement of low-income residents, while at the same time we are looking to build mixed-income, mixed use diverse communities where we have people of different income levels living in close proximity to use," he said. "The city has been working on a plan to not only do that, but to increase employment opportunities for low-income residents and public housing tenants."

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