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$10M neighborhood stabilization announced for Buffalo East Side, Cheektowaga

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Governor Cuomo was in Buffalo Thursday morning to announce an initiative that will use dollars from Buffalo Billion Two to remediate housing on the city's East Side and in the Town of Cheektowaga.

Using money from the state's Buffalo Billion II, New York will invest $10 million over the next three years to remediate properties, prevent foreclosures and prevent properties from falling into neglect and becoming "zombie properties."

Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development, announced that $4 million is being put to use in phase one.

"The city has about 28 properties in the East Side that they are seeking to rehab and transfer to new homeowners," Zemsky said. "And with state funding, they believe the first homes could be ready for occupancy this fall."

Other strategies include assisting low-income homeowners with repair needs including lead remediation and weatherization. This, according to state officials, will help an estimated 200 families who are at risk of losing their homes due to high maintenance and energy use costs. 

"Together these investments will combat blight and draw residents to the East Side, bringing new life into the community," Zemsky said. "Today's announcement complements everything we are doing, from housing, to job training to spur economic development, and continues Buffalo's upward trajectory."

Governor Cuomo, who appeared in Batavia earlier this week to announce a new business venture there, took the opportunity Thursday morning to again state his administration's commitment to Western New York. He says Buffalo has a strong presence in his administration.

"It's not a coincidence that the Lieutenant Governor is from Buffalo," Cuomo said. "It's not a coincidence that Howard Zemsky is from Buffalo."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown opened the ceremony inside the Willard Pratt Community Center. 

"Even though it is pouring outside, every time the governor comes to Buffalo it is a good day," the mayor said. "It is a sunny day and the governor brings a lot of goodies for the people of Buffalo and Western New York."

Brown was among numerous elected leaders present. Cuomo referred to the state lawmakers in attendance as the region's "bacon squad," saying it is their work that helps make it possible for the state to make its investments in the Buffalo area. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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