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Will sex offenders live at 45 Chippewa Street? Council president wants to know

Mike Desmond
45 West Chippewa Street in Buffalo

Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen says he cannot find out who will live in a building at 45 West Chippewa Street and, until he knows for sure, the building will not get a lodging house license.

The building is an aging structure, roughly across Chippewa from Emerson High School, which has had past licenses covering its 47 rooms. The building was recently sold and that brought back the building before the Council for a re-licensing.

The Council President says he wanted to find out who would live there and is not satisfied with the answers, which included referrals from other agencies. He says that might include sex offenders.

Since the area includes two schools and a third on the way, Pridgen says he wants more information.

"The law states that a sex offender on parole cannot be housed 1,000 feet away from a school and there's other places," Pridgen says. "What I'm looking at right now is the fact that it is proposed to be located near a school and that would be Emerson Commons."

Hutch Tech is just down the street and Emerson Two is planned for construction across a parking lot behind Emerson Commons.

Pridgen says the application for a lodging license will come before a Council committee December 19, but will sit there until he is satisfied with answers.

"I wanted to let the residents and the business owners in that area know what was being proposed," he says. "One business owner that I was talking to last week was happy that we will be hearing this matter on December 19, in committee, and I just think it's important before the Council allows this or grants it that that the public has heard about it."

Pridgen says resolving the uncertainty about future residents is why the licensing system exists. He says the building has been a problem in the past.

"Building has been in poor repair. I hope that the new owners do bring it back up to the standards for the Ellicott District and for the City of Buffalo," Pridgen says. "But, until we know exactly what is going to be going on at this location, this will sit in committee for discussion."

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.
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