Fruit Belt residents concerned about UB expansion plans

Mar 20, 2013

The University at Buffalo may face some problems regarding its plans in the city because of strife over the way they are affecting residents of the Fruit Belt.

What was for decades a long strip of vacant land on the edge of the Fruit Belt is now sprouting the buildings of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Residents see the buildings every day and the cars of the workers clogging their streets.

The big fight is over McCarley Gardens, the tree-shaded housing development of Saint John Baptist Church on the south end of the medical campus. Saint John Baptist Church is reportedly selling the complex to the UB Foundation.

The church plans to use the proceeds from the sale for its $500 million community development plan in the community. The plan also calls for new rental housing for McCarley residents.

Ellicott District Councilmember Darius Pridgen says residents aren't being told what's going on and what will happen to their homes. Pridgen says UB isn't being cooperative and there will be consequences for anything the university plans in the city.

"For the record, I do not intend on giving a yes vote for anything else that UB intends to do within the City of Buffalo at this time, until they have become much more neighbor friendly," Pridgen says.

In a written statement, UB says a representative of the Community Relations Office will attend an April 23 meeting to talk about the neighborhood. The council also plans its own advisory board of residents to discuss what might happen.