The push is on to spruce-up the neighborhood where the new University at Buffalo medical school will be opening in about four years.
The area is being called the 'Western Gateway' to the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus. With construction of the new medical school expected to get underway soon, Rep. Brian Higgins, Mayor Byron Brown and other leaders are working to build support for the Allen Street Improvement Project.
BNMC President and CEO Matt Enstice says the campus's workforce will double to about 17,000 when the Medical School opens in 2016.
"We can not as a medical campus just benefit ourselves," Enstice said. "We have to spin-off the opportunities into the neighborhoods. What our real goal here is to build a healthy city."
Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, says the public investment will open up Allentown for growth.
"I think you're going to see dramatic street-scapes that are cool, that are in keeping with the urban environment. That will promote private sector development in both commercial and mixed-use development."
Higgins is urging quick action before federal construction dollars are redirected for other purposes.
Funding for the design phase of the Allen Street Improvement Project is included in the city's current budget.