Buffalo’s Central Terminal may have bid farewell to its final train passengers in 1979, but volunteers have been working to remind people that the East Side icon is far from dead.
As officials continue to map out a long-term reuse plan for the cavernous structure, terminal advocatesand neighborhood residents are partnering this summer to launch a variety of activities. The events range from historic tours and ghost walks, to a car and train show, a bike race and even the 2016 New York Powerlifting Championships.
John Jiloty, a member of the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation's board, said such events help to showcase the venue while bringing people to the East Side.
"The interest in this property is amazing," he said. "We really want to make sure we give people the opportunity to check it out and really experience the magic that it is. We host these events to bring people in and show them around and talk about the history. It’s important for the community as well just to get people into the neighborhood and support those in the neighborhood.”
A small army of volunteers regularly performs a variety of on-site cleanup and maintenance tasks.
“We want to make sure that we’re making the neighborhood look as good as possible and we keep that property clean and safe,” Jiloty said. “We try to work with local kids and groups to help. They can bring a lot of the community together throughout the neighborhood and surrounding properties. It’s a partnership and we’re big advocates of redeveloping the east side and we want to play a big part in that.”
In the longer term, Canada-based Stinson Developments plans to revamp the complex into a hub that includes shops, restaurants, a museum and event space. The developer also hopes to build several hundred townhouses in Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood where the terminal is located.
“There’s so much interesting stuff going on that has happened and continues to happen there,” Jiloty said. “We want to make sure we educate people on that, showing people that the terminal is still a really great place to be and making the momentum (continue) to make it a public icon.”