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$5 million in Buffalo Billion funds sought for Central Terminal

Mike Desmond

It may have been colder inside Buffalo Central Terminal Monday than it was outside the towering landmark of the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood. That cold was the focus of a news conference by two state legislators calling on Albany to put $5 million from the $400 million Buffalo Billion II into the complex.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Albany has been putting some money into the Paderewski Drive buildings, currently for wiring and some plumbing work.

"It's not enough," said Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo). "It's a great start and we're not going to stop until it gets done, but we know for sure that that is not enough. This building is one of the most beautiful places in Buffalo and there's absolutely no reason why it can't be fully restored to community use to whatever the community decides that it should be used for."

Much of the requested $5 million would go to replace its windows, to separate the cold outside from a chilly inside. State Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-Buffalo) said it is the effect of almost 90 years in the local climate.

Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

"Buffalo winters are harsh and the endless cycle of freezing and thawing has taken its toll here at the Central Terminal," Kennedy said. "If we're to preserve and reuse this building, we need to begin to invest funds to stabilize the site, to correct the damage and to prevent future damage and to create an atmosphere here at the Central Terminal that is development ready."

Peoples-Stokes said there is a need to move beyond the current volunteer staff, which has saved the building and begun its turnaround. The $5 million would put $500,000 into full-time staff to work on the structure and and its longterm finances.

Central Terminal Restoration Corporation Vice Chair Paul Lang said the current work is restoring the restaurant, while the new money would restore the kitchen and heat the restaurant so it could be used for special events to get people into the building and into the neighborhood.

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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