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Westminster Commons coming to Willert Park

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Carimina Woods Morris, DPC
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Rendering of Westminster Commons

The thousands of vacant lots on Buffalo's East Side are slowly starting to fill up, with large developments geared to the neighborhoods and the needs.

Not only are there a lot of vacant lots, but they are linked vacant lots offering large spaces for development.

The Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers is taking advantage of that in Buffalo's Willert Park neighborhood, planning Westminster Commons. One side of the project will run along Monroe Avenue, while backing onto Adams street. The project is a $26 million, 84-unit multiple-story structure for older, ailing tenants.

Executive Director Ricardo Herrera said this is an area the agency is familiar with because it has been there for more than a century, especially the adjacent Westminister Community House.

"By the year 2030, the elderly population is expected to triple. We simply do not have enough money to put them into nursing homes and institutions," said Herrera. "On top of that, most of the low-income individuals, the nursing homes that will take them, just have long waiting lists and not the best environment."

He said the complex is designed to allow people not in the best of health to live on their own, taking advantage of pharmacy and social services run by other agencies, with full access to youth and community meeting space, in the building or next door in Westminster Community House.

"We are talking functionality here, designed for functionality," said Herrera. "It is designed around the needs of the population that will be needed so that you're avoiding trips and falls, long hallways, you don't have to go outside as much. You can get all your amenities within."

Herrera said the groundbreaking will take place next spring, with the building slated to take 16 months to build. The agency will add about 20 people to run the building.