Statement for Immediate Release
January 28, 2018
716-243-8777 x 103
Open Buffalo Applauds City of Buffalo’s Commitment of Properties to the F.B. Community Land Trust
Land trust will empower Fruit Belt residents to determine and design the future of their neighborhood
BUFFALO, NY — As a founding member of the Community First Alliance (CFA) and the F.B. Community Land Trust (FBCLT), Open Buffalo applauds the recent public commitment of Common Council President Darius G. Pridgen (Ellicott District) and the administration of Buffalo Mayor W. Byron Brown to transfer up to 50 city-owned vacant properties to the hands of Fruit Belt residents.
“This victory for the F.B. Community Land Trust is progress for every person fighting for a place to live, raise a family, and thrive amid Buffalo’s storied economic resurgence,” said Franchelle Parker, Executive Director of Open Buffalo. “We are proud to have played a part in this historic moment.”
In the face of outside economic forces threatening to price thousands of Buffalonians out of the neighborhoods they love, Open Buffalo has in recent years helped community leaders organize to develop innovative, people-centered solutions to threats of economic exclusion and displacement.
More than two years ago, the Community First Alliance formed to bring together Fruit Belt neighborhood leaders and community-based justice organizations from around the city that wanted to help empower the neighborhood’s residents and preserve its historic character and cultural assets.
Concerned about the fate of more than 200 vacant city-owned properties in this small, historically African-American community, members of the CFA helped to launch and incorporate the F.B. Community Land Trust in 2017 -- the first functioning community land trust in our city’s history. The independent FBCLT is designed to facilitate “development without displacement,” with residents steering the ship.
As Council President Pridgen recently stated, “Those lots would stay in the hands of working class and low-income people. Whatever that land trust, the community land trust, builds there as far as housing, for 99 years, 99 years, it cannot be transferred to wealthy people, it can’t be sold to other people.”
The advancement of the F.B. Community Land Trust is particularly significant because residents of Fruit Belt face the largest and most visible gentrification and displacement threat of any city neighborhood. Dealing with effects of the neighboring Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus’ rapid growth has been a daily struggle for Fruit Belt residents. These have included surging traffic, parking crunches, and property speculators applying pressure on homeowners and policymakers, looking to profit off of a vulnerable neighborhood.
The pending transfer of dozens of properties from the city to the land trust will be a true landmark occasion for Buffalo. We hope that this will lead to a new way of doing business and channeling investment in the “City of Good Neighbors.”
About Open Buffalo:
Open Buffalo is a Community Movement for Social and Economic Justice.
It is a civic initiative to make major, long-term improvements in justice and equity in the City of Buffalo. It is an unprecedented collaboration among a diverse group of partners and allies. For more information, visit OpenBuffalo.org.
For more media inquiries, please contact Max Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 716-243-8777 x 103.