The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA)
Perry Choice Neighborhood Planning Initiative
The BMHA Perry Choice Neighborhood (PCN) planning initiative is a collaborative led by the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA) and the University at Buffalo Center for Urban Studies. Its goal is to develop a plan for transforming the Perry Choice Neighborhood into a vibrant community of opportunity, which functions as a platform or springboard that enables residents to earn a living wage and that helps children do well in school, graduate on time, and go on to college and/or obtain a job with a meaningful career ladder. This goal will be achieved by developing a transformative plan that centers on People, Housing and Neighborhood.
The Planning Framework
Out of 119 applicants nationwide, the BMHA Perry Choice Neighborhood initiative was one of 17 recipients to be awarded the first Planning Grant funding through the Office of Housing and Urban Development's new Choice Neighborhood Initiative. After the planning period is over, BMHA will be able to apply for a $30 million implementation grant.
The Perry Choice Neighborhood
The BMHA Perry Choice neighborhood is bounded by South Park on the south, Smith Street to the east, Sycamore to the north and Michigan Avenue to the west. The neighborhood is also the historical home of black Buffalonians, who shared this industrial-residential community with a mix of white ethnic groups—Polish, Italians, Germans, Canadians, British, Irish, Russians, Austrians, Hungarians, Swedish, Czechoslovakians, and Rumanians.
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The Commodore Perry District
The Commodore Perry Community will be recreated and redevelopment as the heart of the Perry Choice Neighborhood—that prime destination that contains a cluster of goods, services, shops and stores not found elsewhere in the neighborhood. As such, it will become that "district" that anchors the entire community (Map 2).
Map 2: Commodore Perry Community
Because it is the neighborhood's prime destination, the most intense redevelopment activities will take place in the Commodore Perry Community. Not only this, but the housing, commercial, educational and supportive services activities taking place in Commodore Perry will catalyze development throughout the Perry Choice neighborhood and adjacent communities, including the Old First Ward (Map 3).
Map 3: Threshold Site Plan for Commodore Perry Community
The Perry Choice Community: Development Areas # 1 and # 2
The revitalization of the Perry neighborhood will also catalyze and support redevelopment activities in adjacent neighborhoods. To strategically support these activities, the planning team has selected two complementary secondary development zones (Map 3).
Development zone # 1 is located on the northern boundary of the Perry Neighborhood in the Fruit Belt neighborhood, home of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the Woodson Homes, a BMHA development. Woodson consists of 26 vacant housing units which will be demolished. The intent is to replace the demolished housing units in the northern section of the Fruit Belt. Here, the BMHA will partner with the St. Johns Baptist Church, which is leading the Fruit Belt redevelopment initiative.
Development Zone # 2 is situated on its northwestern border of the Perry Choice neighborhood. It is anchored by the Kowal apartments, a BMHA housing development. Although the apartments are in good condition, the area is nonetheless dominated by vacant land, thereby making it an ideal site for BMHA replacement housing. Therefore, if the Choice planning team decides to build replacement housing outside the Perry Choice Neighborhood, either development area 1 or 2 would be selected.