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What will Buffalo's East Side look like in 2040? Two local groups are planning ahead

The head of a Black woman in a futuristic city of browns, yellows and greens.
LISC Western New York
The Livability & Economic Inclusion Action Plan envisions a better East Side of Buffalo in 2040.

Two local groups are looking ahead to the 2040 version of Buffalo's East Side with dreams of a community far different from today.

In 2040, pre-K students will be just becoming adults.The Buffalo Urban League and Local Initiatives Support Corporation want them live in a very different Buffalo through their Livability & Economic Inclusion Action Plan. The goal is an empowered community with economic opportunity and a good quality of life for all.

Buffalo Urban League president Thomas Beauford, wearing a blue suite, white shirt and striped tie, stands at a podium with media microphones
Mike Desmond
Buffalo Urban League President Thomas Beauford is leading the effort with LISC Western New York.

Urban League President Thomas Beauford Jr. said a key difference is thatresidents will have a central role in planning what's done, empowering that community. There's a meeting Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium to talk about it.

"To let people become aware that there is a framework. There are organizations who are vested in making this change," he said. "You saw 2040 out there, so we're not talking about change that's going to happen tomorrow. We're talking about a process that will get us to that change."

There will be other meetings on the plan this month. Beauford said a key goal is to re-create Jefferson Avenue as it was in the middle years of the last century, when there were local businesses, often locally owned, central to their neighborhoods and providing jobs in the community.

"We want it to look like the old Jefferson Avenue, the old William Street. We want those walkable communities to be back in those communities of color. We want those walkable distances. Those things to walk and see business people, business owners, seeing people, seeing commerce happen," he 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.