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Preservation Board approves landmark status for grain elevator, tables East HS

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Buffalo Preservation Board
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Landmark status was approved for Buffalo's Concrete Central Elevator, 175 Buffalo River.

The Buffalo Preservation Board on Thursday voted to recommend to the Common Council that the old and historic Concrete Central Elevator be designated as a landmark. The board also talked about making more visible the process for designating what everyone thought were landmarks as official city landmarks.

Over the last few months, the board has seen a string of local buildings and neighborhoods enter the process to become landmarks, often what Chair Gwen Howard calls "low-hanging fruit": the obvious choices to be nominated for landmarks. That includes sites like the Electric Tower downtown.

Once the application is submitted, the board is required to evaluate it and, if approved, hold a public hearing and then make a recommendation to the Council for landmarking. Thursday, the board tabled landmarking East High School, after Board Member Terry Robinson said it needs more recent history in the application.

Robinson said landmark status has many aspects.

"If there is a under-resourced community group or something of that sort that says, 'Hey, here's a landmark structure in the neighborhood. We don't have the resources to do it, but if we approach the Preservation Board, they will undertake that because this is their policy.' So it's two-sided," Robinson said. "It explains what we do and the way we do it."

The board has new applications for the Cargill Superior Elevator on the Buffalo River, the Samuel Schenck House on Bailey Avenue and the Franklin Street building that once housed the Rue Franklin restaurant and apartments. New Board Member Terence Gilbride said he wants the context of applications and why the board decided to push forward with a large array of landmark applications.

New Member Terence Gilbride said the City Charter sets up most of the rules for application and designation. Gilbridge wanted to know why this steady flow occurred.

"That's all codified in the city ordinance. What I was asking for was clarification from the board chair as to how the process, what went into the decision of this board, to pursue landmark application status for the various applications that I've received in the two meetings that I attended," Gilbridge said.

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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