Mayor Brown Marks Start Of Pearl Street Two-Way Conversion Project
July 24, 2015 - $2.5 million plan is designed to further improve pedestrian and vehicular access throughout downtown Buffalo; project is part of a $64 million investment for infrastructure improvement in 2015, bringing Mayor Brown’s total investment in infrastructure improvements to $154 million since 2006
Mayor Byron Brown, joined by State Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes and State Senator Timothy Kennedy, today marked the start of work on the Pearl Street Two-Way Conversion project, a $2.5 million project - supported by a $1.5 million city bond and $1.0 million CFA grant from New York State - that is aimed at further improving pedestrian and vehicular access throughout downtown
“Thanks to a major investment by the city, as well as my partners in government who helped secure funds for this project, we’ve begun the $2.5 million makeover of downtown Pearl Street,” said Mayor Brown. “The work involves converting Pearl Street from one-way to two-way from Tupper to Upper Terrace, improving pedestrian, biking and traffic flow, creating even more construction jobs, and continues my administration’s strong commitment to infrastructure improvements citywide.”
The $2.5 million conversion of Pearl Street, funded via a $1.5 million city bond and a $1.0 million Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) grant from the state, will complement the Main Street work, bringing two-way traffic and bike lanes down as far as Upper Terrace to connect to Canalside. The contractor on the project is CATCO Construction.
“This $2.5 million project is another great example of partnership in government improving the quality of life for residents of the Queen City,” said Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes. “I look forward to residents, tourists, shoppers and businesses being able to take advantage of downtown Buffalo’s continuously improving accessibility. Increased accessibility will make it easier for people to support local businesses and access public services. The Consolidated Funding Application process continues to deliver results due to streamlined access to state funding. I applaud Mayor Brown and Governor Cuomo on their efforts to meet the needs of our growing downtown district.”
Mayor Brown Welcomes Hollywood Movie Director Back To Buffalo
July 16, 2015 - With a continued focus on creating opportunities for Buffalo and Erie County’s cultural economy and emerging film industry, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown today welcomed Hollywood Producer/Director Fred Olen Ray back to Buffalo. He announced that Ray has returned to the Buffalo area to shoot an independent motion picture entitled ‘Trial’. Most of the film will be shot in Buffalo with several scenes taking place in nearby Niagara Falls.
“Hollywood returns to Buffalo, providing jobs and opportunity to city residents and business owners,” said Mayor Brown, noting that so far this year there have been 8 feature films shot in the Buffalo area, with over 215 production days and an economic impact that exceeds $10 million. “The City of Buffalo is committed to being a ‘film friendly’ city and we will continue to welcome productions like ‘Trial’ to the City of Good Neighbors. We have great people, great architecture and landscape and wonderful incentives and supports in place to share with the film industry. I’m pleased that Movie Director Fred Olen Ray is among the growing number of film makers who have taken notice.”
‘Trial’ is described as a ‘thriller' which is expected to receive theatrical release in 2016. Earlier this year, Ray directed his movie “Small Town Prince” in the East Aurora area. It is a Christmas season film set in an idyllic small American town. Record snowfall helped set the backdrop and East Aurora business owners and residents banded together to display their holiday decorations in February to help set the mood for the film. During that shoot, Ray was taken by the architecture, character and rhythm of Western New York and decided to bring another film to our area.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stated, “Buffalo and Erie County continue to build a reputation as a good place to make movies, and the news that ‘Trial’ will be shot here solidifies that reputation even more. The word is out that Western New York can provide film makers with the places and people needed for successful productions, raising our profile and adding to the industry’s significant local economic impact as well. Erie County is a good place for business, as Hollywood recognizes, and we look great on the big screen.”
The ‘Trial’ shoot is being coordinated with the help of the Buffalo Niagara Film Office which reports that this movie is one of 5 movies being shot in the Buffalo area over the next 30 days. Again, motion picture activity has exceeded 10 million dollars in economic impact to our region so far this year, with nearly 5,000 hotel rooms booked by out-of-town film crews who also provided hundreds of local jobs to city residents, presented new opportunities to city vendors, shopped and ate local establishments.
Regional Film Commissioner Tim Clark said “Fred Olen Ray has discovered the charm of Western New York, the talent of our local cast and crews, the affordability of Upstate and the New York State Film Tax Credit program. We are thrilled to welcome Fred back as a return customer who recognizes our community as a great place to shoot movies,” Clark concluded.
‘Trial’ will commence principal photography this Saturday and will continue to shoot through July 30th. Anyone interested in appearing as an extra in the movie is encouraged to contact the production via e-mail at: http://PutMeInTheMovie@gmail.com. Submissions should include: Name, age, email address and phone number.
Downtown Buffalo Connected To New WiFi
July 14, 2015 - Downtown Buffalo Connected to New Wi-Fi M&T Bank, Mayor Byron Brown and University at Buffalo Partner to Launch New Wireless Internet Service
Buffalo Connect – the new outdoor, public Wi-Fi network running along Main Street in downtown Buffalo and into the popular Canalside area – is now available for use by downtown residents, employees and visitors.
The new service was launched today by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, M&T Bank Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers and University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi.
M&T Bank led the effort to engineer, purchase and install the system in partnership with the City of Buffalo, UB and 16 other public- and private-sector partners.
“If downtown Buffalo is going to be a thriving engine of opportunity for all city residents, we must find ways to support the entrepreneurs who are driving technological advances and creating jobs,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “By providing city residents, members of the business community and visitors with free public Wi-Fi, we will continue to attract more people and business to downtown Main Street, while making targeted investments to improve our city’s wireless infrastructure. I thank M&T Bank for leading the effort to engineer, purchase and install the system in partnership with the City of Buffalo and the University at Buffalo as we work together to further strengthen our economy.”
“Every day it seems, downtown Buffalo is adding new residents, new employers and employees, new visitors, new and redeveloped buildings—and now new public Wi-Fi. Buffalo Connect will make downtown Buffalo an easier place to stay connected, and that’s good for our City, and for the people who live, work and visit here,” said M&T Chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers.
Downtown Buffalo currently hosts more than 58,000 workers, including 3,300 M&T Bank employees. Read More...
Mayor Brown Introduces Winner Of Logo Design Contest
July 13, 2015 - Mayor Byron Brown, joined today by representatives from IBM, LAMAR Advertising and New Era, introduced the winner of a city-sponsored Buffalo Opportunity Pledge Logo Contest. The winning design, submitted by city resident and freelance designer Erin B. Harris, was selected from over 20 excellent submissions and will now serve as the visual identity for the new City of Buffalo Opportunity Pledge. The Opportunity Pledge is an important component of Mayor Brown’s collaborative effort to celebrate the diversity of the city of Buffalo, and to ensure that all city residents and businesses benefit from the city’s rising prosperity.
“Buffalo’s vibrant art and creative community adds to the great momentum that’s underway in our city and I thank Erin Harris for putting together a creative design that will help us continue to build Buffalo as a city of opportunity,” said Mayor Brown. “Creative ideas came in from so many residents, artists and students who I thank for submitting an entry. Their work really reaffirmed the immense talent and creativity we have in Buffalo.”
The Buffalo Opportunity Pledge is part of an initiative that is moving Buffalo toward the goal of shared prosperity for all residents. According to Mayor Brown, the winning logo best reflected the city’s values and the current growth and opportunity now underway in Buffalo.
Erin B. Harris is a freelance designer based in Buffalo. A graduate of the Buffalo Seminary, Erin went on to earn her BFA in Communication Design from Syracuse University. She now specializes in graphic design and illustration, and has designed for several local-area clients such as the Buffalo Bills, Mercy Flight, Amherst Central High School, The Park School of Buffalo, The University of Buffalo, and many more. At today’s announcement, representatives from IBM presented Erin Harris with a 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and Wacom Pen ($680 value). Her winning entry will also be displayed citywide on billboards, courtesy of Lamar Advertising. It will also be featured on Government Channel 22, City of Buffalo website, social media sites and at community events.
“I’m so excited my design was chosen to increase awareness about the Buffalo Opportunity Pledge initiative,” said Harris. “I look forward to working with Mayor Brown and the City of Buffalo to continue the great momentum.”
The City of Buffalo Opportunity Pledge encourages businesses, organizations and residents to commit to building a culture of inclusion and equality in Buffalo. View and sign the pledge at: www.city-buffalo.com/BuffaloOpportunityPledge.
New Buffalo-NYC Ad Campaign Hits The Streets In Both Cities
July 13, 2015 - Tourism agreement to stimulate travel across the state and strengthen relationship between cities
Mayor Byron Brown, joined today by Visit Buffalo Niagara President and CEO Patrick Kaler,Kimberley A. Minkel, Executive Director for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority and LamarAdvertising Vice President and General Manager Richard Dvorak and Lamar Transit Market Manager Maureen Glose, unveiled new ads on billboards and bus shelters in Buffalo and NYC as part of a previously announced first-ever partnership to boost business and tourism activity in both cities. Visit Buffalo Niagara, Erie County’s lead marketing organization for conventions, meetings, sporting events and domestic and international tourism, worked in tandem with NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, on this initiative to encourage residents of Buffalo and New York City to visit their sister city.
“We’re thrilled to partner with New York City to encourage tourism from Buffalo to New York and New York to Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown, noting that Buffalo is quickly becoming one of America’s top cultural heritage tourism destinations. “New York is our state’s largest city and one of the greatest cities in the world. Buffalo is our state’s second largest city and is experiencing a revitalization unlike it’s seen in fifty years. I thank our partners and encourage residents in both cities to explore these two great destinations.”
“With millions of potential visitors just a short one-hour flight away, New York City is one of the Buffalo tourism industry’s top markets,” VBN President and CEO Patrick Kaler said. “We’re grateful to Mayor Brown for helping to coordinate this arrangement and look forward to spreading the word about Buffalo’s renaissance in our nation’s largest city.”
The ad campaign is part of Buffalo’s and New York’s long-term commitments to their thriving tourism industries, which have a significant positive impact on their local economies. Under the tourism agreement, New York City agreed to exchange outdoor bus-shelter advertising assets valued at $150,000 to Visit Buffalo Niagara to run promotions throughout New York City. In return, Visit Buffalo Niagara, in partnership with Lamar Advertising and the NFTA, will exchange outdoor media space, including bus shelters and billboards, to help New York City enhance its presence in Buffalo, promoting marketing programs geared to encourage visitation to New York City.
Rick Dvorak, Vice President and General Manager of Lamar Outdoor Advertising, stated “Lamar Outdoor Advertising is glad to have had the opportunity to help increase tourism in the City of Buffalo. These are exciting times to be living in Buffalo and being part of the tremendous growth of a great city.”
Lamar Transit Market Manager Maureen Glose said, “Lamar Transit is pleased to join our advertising partner, the NFTA-Metro in helping the city of Buffalo with this cross promotion campaign, which is ultimately designed to bring tourism from NYC to the beautiful Buffalo, NY.”
Kimberley A. Minkel, NFTA Executive Director said, “We are pleased to be working with Mayor Brown to help promote tourism from NYC to the Queen City, so Buffalo can showcase the many diverse cultural gems our great city has to offer to others from outside our region.” Read More...
Mayor Brown, BPD Welcome Safe Cam Program To City Of Buffalo
July 9, 2015 - Safe Cam encourages more city businesses and residents to register their private cameras with Buffalo Police Department
Surveillance footage can be a great tool for solving crimes and today Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo Police Commissioner Dan Derenda announced the start of Safe Cam, a highly effective crime fighting program that calls on city businesses and residents to register their private cameras with the Buffalo Police Department (BPD), further enhancing and expanding the department’s surveillance camera database.
“We see surveillance cameras nearly everywhere we go, but only a couple hundred actually belong to the City of Buffalo,” said Mayor Brown. “By adding privately owned residential and business security cameras to the mix, we can effectively blanket the city with security cameras, helping our investigators access information more quickly and potentially solve crimes even faster.”
BPD does not take ownership of the cameras under the Safe Cam program. Instead, investigators would simply know where the cameras are as people register – so - if a crime happens in a particular neighborhood, detectives will already know a camera is nearby and footage can be pulled up in real time.
Under Mayor Brown’s direction, BPD created and installed a citywide camera surveillance system that now includes over 210 cameras. The system is expected to expand to 220 state-of-the-art cameras by the end of 2015.
Last year, Mayor Brown directed BPD to learn more about the Safe Cam program that was initiated by the Philadelphia Police Department. In just a few years, Philadelphia Police have registered 2,400 cameras all over the city (and counting) and made 191 arrests based on civilian video-footage.
Registration is easy. Go to www.bpdny.org and click on the services tab where you will find Buffalo safecam. Fill out the on-line form. For more information about the Buffalo Police Department, go to www.bpdny.org - Twitter: @BPDAlerts - Facebook: Buffalo Police Department - Instagram: BUFFALO_POLICE_DEPT.
July 1, 2015 - Buffalo's outdoor pools opened Wednesday for the summer
Mayor Byron W. Brown and Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Andrew Rabb were joined by dozens of city children, who helped them celebrate the official start to the city’s summer pool season with a ceremonial jump into Riverside Pool in Buffalo this morning.
“We are constantly working to make our city an even greater place to live, work and play,” said Mayor Brown. “With 8 outdoor pools, 2 wading pools and 11 splash pads, Buffalo’s facilities provide a great respite for those who love the water and continue my administration’s focus on the health and wellness of our citizens by keeping them physically active during the hot summer months.”
ALL city pools opened on July First and will remain open from 11am-7pm for the duration of the summer season through Labor Day, weather permitting. All city splash pads are also open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. except at Cazenovia. The Cazenovia Splash Pad is currently under construction and is expected to reopen, weather depending, by the end of July. Read More...
Mayor Brown Announces That A Major Downtown Stakeholder Adds To The Momentum At 201 Ellicott Street
June 16, 2015 - City of Buffalo incorporates Erie Community College’s plan for enhanced downtown space into the development process for the future use of a city-owned parking lot that also seeks to attract a grocery store to downtown Buffalo
As part of his commitment to continue the significant investment and job growth that is happening across the City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron W. Brown was pleased to announce today that Erie Community College (ECC) has become a key stakeholder in the City of Buffalo’s 201 Ellicott Street project, providing the development community with an even greater opportunity to transform a prime downtown parcel that is ready for redevelopment.
“Erie Community College is one of Buffalo’s higher education institutions and plays an important role in our city’s economic growth,” said Mayor Brown. “By incorporating ECC’s plan to add a new downtown building into the city’s 201 Ellicott Street project, we are enhancing the overall scope of this project by bringing the successful developer an anchor tenant who is looking to bolster its downtown presence.”
Initially, the City of Buffalo released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 201 Ellicott Street, a city-owned property on May 8, 2015. Since then, ECC has reached out to the city and requested to be part of the formal process to determine if 201 Ellicott meets its future space needs. Given this new opportunity, the City of Buffalo, in incorporating ECC’s plan into the 201 Ellicott Street development process, issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) today to identify a Developer to be designated for the site. The issuance of the RFQ replaces the RFP released in May.
“Ongoing planning for the future of many of ECC’s academic and non-academic programs has illustrated the need for enhanced downtown space,” said ECC President Jack Quinn. “We believe that being involved in this RFQ will not only assist the college in its pursuit of such space, but will also eventually help us bolster programmatic offerings across a reimagined City Campus. We’re excited about the ongoing redevelopment of downtown Buffalo and we’re committed to continuing as a vital part of the city’s present and future.”
201 Ellicott Street is owned by the City of Buffalo and is currently used as a surface parking lot. Downtown Buffalo is experiencing tremendous growth with an increase in demand for both apartment and condominium residential units. There is also a greater demand for retail offerings with the influx of new residents to downtown as well as a growing workforce population. This growth provides the opportunity to put 201 Ellicott Street to a higher and better use.
Mayor Brown’s Office of Strategic Planning is seeking qualifications from interested developers to demonstrate their capacity to develop a mixed-use development project that includes a full line grocery store, a significant residential element (with a possibility for condominiums), and a required parking ramp. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process will result in the City designating a Developer for 201 Ellicott Street.
As part of developing a mixed-use project for the site, the designated Developer will be asked to engage in a master planning process with Erie Community College “ECC”. ECC, a major Downtown stakeholder, is currently in the process of developing a plan to determine the future space needs of the college; in terms of programs and locations. A major part of that work will focus on an enhanced ECC presence downtown. The Developer will be required to work with ECC through its master planning process to determine if ECC’s needs can be incorporated into the mixed-use project at 201 Ellicott Street. Read More...
Mayor Brown Kicks-Off 14th Annual Reading Rules!
May 6, 2015 - Mayor Byron Brown, joined by students from PS #94 West Hertel Academy, kicked off the Mayor’s annual Reading Rules! Kids Summer Reading Challenge. The summer program, now in its 14th year, is designed to help students maintain and improve their reading and writing skills during the summer months.
“I strongly believe that regular reading keeps academic skills sharp, inspires curiosity, and best of all, fosters young people to become lifelong readers and learners,” said Mayor Brown. “I’m pleased that so many of our city youth take part in my summer reading challenge and I encourage others to join the fun so we can get more books into the homes of children and keep them reading and learning during the summer.”
“Reading Rules!” began in 2001, when Mayor Brown served in the New York State Senate, as a way to address the literacy problem in New York State, specifically in Buffalo and Western New York. Mayor Brown started the literacy effort to encourage schoolchildren to read books throughout the summer, and submit written summaries of each book they had read.
Click here to view more information