D'Youville College's plans for a new health hub hit a speed bump Tuesday in front of Buffalo's Common Council over the perennial West Side issue of parking.
The Common Council voted another approval to the overall project, but held off on a parking lot issue because of community opposition.
The hub would go on a college parking lot on Connecticut Street and requires a brownfield cleanup, which is part of the plan. Because talks between neighborhood groups and the college have not worked out a solution to the parking problem, the approval went back to committee for more talks about replacing the lost parking spaces for construction.
Operations Vice President Nate Marton said the hub is important to the college and to the neighborhood.
"One of the key components of it is a clinic, an actual healthcare community clinic, which will be operating by Catholic Health as a partner of ours in the building. So it's actually going to provide service in the community and it's something our faculty has wanted for 20 years," Marton said. "So the importance of the building is for us, certainly academically speaking, it's a building for our students first and foremost and some training for the community, but it's really about giving back to the community as well."
Marton said the $25 million hub will help train college students in a variety of health fields and that the project is on a fast track, with a goal of completion in the fall of next year.
Council Majority Leader David Rivera said the neighborhood has looked at a variety of ways to resolve the parking crunch, even looking at using the Kleinhans Music Hall parking lot, but Kleinhans needs the space for its own events, so that did not work out.
The Niagara District representative said the parking crunch is bad enough that there are really creative solutions needed, like parking on both sides of some streets and shuttling students and staff from some leased spaces away from the college.
"Alternate parking during certain times of the season, streets that are wide enough we're going to allow parking on both sides, we're going to look at it. Anything at all, including leasing space in other areas for D'Youville College students or staffers," Rivera said. "We're doing the best we can to deal with the density that every institution has, every college, hospital."