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Downtown Streets set for $1.25M Upgrade

Three downtown Buffalo streets — including a pair of gateway roads — are in line for a makeover.

Through Buffalo Building Reuse Projects, the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. has agreed to allocate $1.25 million for design work on stretches of the Genesee Street gateway area, Chippewa Street and Perry Street. The actual makeover work, that will include new landscaping, won't take place until 2014, at the earliest.

"The work shows that we are making tangible signs of progress," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. "I'm hoping our work will spur other private-sector investments."

The three streets were selected following a review process undertaken by the BUDC staff, at Brown's direction. All are aimed at playing off new development projects in the immediate area.

The actual streets are:

? Genesee Street, running between Oak Street and Roosevelt Plaza.

The Genesee Gateway project is taking hold and Uniland Development Co. is building the $46 million Catholic Health headquarters and training center on Oak Street.

? Chippewa Street between Main Street and Elmwood Avenue where a number of new bars and restaurants have opened. Chippewa Street remains a major downtown destination.

? Perry Street between Washington Street and Michigan Avenue. In that immediate area, the Buffalo Sabres are building the HarborCenter project, First Niagara Center overlooks the street and the Seneca Gaming Corp. is constructing the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino.

The funds are coming from $11.25 million Brown has designated for the Buffalo Building Reuse Project. National Grid is also supplying some of the infrastructure seed money, approximately $4 million during the next few years.

Brown said he hopes the streetscape improvements mirror those that took place on the 700 block of Main Street as part of the "Cars Sharing Main Street" initiative. Trees and decorative lighting was installed along that block.

"That work resulted in new, private-sector investment along the 700 block," Brown said. "I want to see the same thing take place along these three streets."

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