PUSH begins work on new community hub

May 17, 2017

Some much needed affordable housing is on the way for seniors on Buffalo's West Side.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Brian Higgins and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown were among the dignitaries who helped kick off the project.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

After nearly three years of planning - PUSH Buffalo officially kicked off its largest project to date - the $15 million renovation of School 77. Plans for the old classrooms on the top two floors include 30 apartments geared for seniors.  
"And it's crucial for us, and crucial to our mission, that it be affordable housing. We see rents rising in Buffalo," said Aaron Bartley, PUSH's Executive Director. He says there's a big demand for it.

Dozens of people turned out for the groundbreaking along the Normal Ave. side of the school on Tuesday.
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"We always have between three and four hundred people on our waiting list. And that's without really pushing our marketing that much," Bartley said.

Along with providing new housing he says the goal is to transform the old school - just off Massachusetts Ave between Normal Ave. and Plymouth Ave. - into a community hub with recreational programs for youth in the gymnasium. Financial literacy and job placement classes for adults. And a new home for the Ujima Theatre Company to hold its productions.   
"Really community engaged theater. Theater that matters to the community. About issues that the community faces whether it's racism or challenges in the community. But drawing it out in a very artistic way that connects," Bartley said.  

The reconstruction of School 77 should be complete in about 14 months.