Gateway planners reach out to diverse community

Apr 9, 2014

The public has until May 5th to comment on plans for the New York Gateway Connections project, which will link the Peace Bridge plaza to the 190 and local roadways.  The State Transportation Department is making an extra effort to reach out to a very diverse neighborhood surrounding the Peace Bridge.

The first of two community meetings was held at D'Youville College late Wednesday afternoon.  Neighborhood residents learned the Gateway project is designed to move traffic away from their homes while restoring green space at Front Park. 

Neighborhood residents view plans for New York Gateway Connection
Credit Photo by Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Niagara District Council member David Rivera lauded project managers for the way they reached out to the community.

"If you look at the brochure, it's in six different languages," Rivera said.

Many of the immigrant residents living near the Peace Bridge came from countries where their governments were not so open with information.  Ali Kadhum came to Buffalo as an Iraqi refugee in 2008.  He's serving as a liaison between project managers and the neighborhood.

"I love this idea of educating the community," Kadhum said. 

Project officials say the new construction could even mean jobs for people living in the neighborhood.  Work is scheduled to begin later this year with completion in 2016.  The cost is $35 million.