The Environmental Protection Agency announced this month it will be providing technical assistance to three western New York communities. They were chosen out of 121 applicants and are three of 43 communities to be assisted across the country. The EPA will provide the aid by delivering workshops on developing sustainable growth strategies.
The Broadway-Fillmore corridor in downtown Buffalo is one of the communities to receive EPA support. Once a hub for retail stores and business, it is now one of the poorest communities in the country. Neighborhood Housing Services Executive Director John D. Murphy said although the EPA’s support is non-financial, it’s expected to promote investment in the area.
“They’re going to come in and bring in their expertise to look at the challenges, so we have challenges of vacancy, we have challenges of aging housing stock, using real demographics, using input from the community and then some time in June we’re supposed to get a report back with sort of next steps for implementing solutions for some of our challenges,” said Murphy.
Murphy said this will help restore the communities’ faith in Buffalo’s east side.
The town of Williamson, just outside of Rochester will also receive aid from the EPA. Town Supervisor James Hoffman said the assistance is expected to give all communities involved a "leg-up" for future grants.
“We would like to leverage off our farm-based economy, coupled with the fact that we are located on Lake Ontario, I think there’s some more room for economic development along the lakeshore as well as some more creative things we can do in agriculture,” said Hoffman.
The EPA began the planning process for the program this past week, which will also include a program for the Seneca Indian Nation. The workshops are expected to start within the next several weeks.
For more from the Innovation Trail, visit their website. Reporting by the Innovation Trail is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.