Not everyone's on board with shoring up the Central Terminal with funding from the second round of the Buffalo Billion.
Just before Christmas, State Senator Tim Kennedy formally asked Governor Cuomo to allocate $5 million for the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation. Kennedy says, most of the funding, $4.5 million, would go towards stabilizing and preserving the building. But, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says,
"The Buffalo Billion II should be used to create jobs and ensure that we're working towards having as lowest unemployment as possible." Poloncarz says, he does support using state economic development dollars on another East Side project and that's the Northland Workforce Training Center.
"Because it's going to train people for jobs that are needed in this community. I would not support spending a lot of money of the Buffalo Billion on just infrastructure projects that are not creating jobs," Poloncarz said.
Some of Kennedy's funding request - about $500,000 - would be used to hire an executive director and staff to maintain the nearly 90-year-old terminal. But, Poloncarz points out, a siting committee ruled out locating the city's new train station inside the Central Terminal.
"There are other things that could be done but the costs associated with converting it are astronomical. They're very large. So, I think, what we need to do is kind of figure out what's the best usage for the Central Terminal going forward as a community asset, than to just all of a sudden say, 'we're going to spend a certain amount of money and put it towards there.' With no plan," Poloncarz said.
Several of his fellow Democrats - including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples Stokes and Congressman Brian Higgins - do support Kennedy's request for the Central Terminal.