“The state of the city is strong,” Mayor Byron Brown stated several times during his address before a record breaking crowd of 1,600 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center last Friday. The speech – Mayor Brown’s tenth State of the City Address – was filled with notes on past achievements and announcements of forthcoming projects.
“Buffalo’s transformation is undeniable,” said Mayor Brown. “We are in a strong position to continue the momentum and make sure our prosperity reaches each and every city resident. Our progress has been the result of years of hard work by people in and out of government who believe, as I do, that as we continue to grow Buffalo’s economy, create jobs, encourage development and create opportunity for all of our residents and business owners, we will draw worldwide attention back to the treasures that abound across our City of Good Neighbors.”
The big announcement was that Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation will be working with Tops Market on a mixed-use development at 201 Elliott Street. The development will include residences and a parking structure, in addition to the aforementioned grocery.
Other keynotes included the announcement that a North Tonawanda-made Carousel will be making it’s way to Canal Side, and that the residential and commercial property tax rates will remain the same.
The speech highlighted some of the achievements of the newly-instituted Office of New Americans. As a continuing effort to assure non-English speaking residents get the support they need, Buffalo’s new Office of New Americans will serve as a resource to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and other employers. They will partner with the local court system to improve recruitment and training for qualified court interpreters.
The Office of New Americans released the “New Americans Study,” a comprehensive report on best practices, which will serve as a resource to local employers and entities working to make Buffalo a more welcoming city.
The ceremony closed with the presentation of the Key to the City, made posthumously to the late Ralph Wilson, founder and long-time owner of the Buffalo Bills. His wife, Mary Wilson, accepted the honor.
“Ralph Wilson was one of our city’s greatest champions,” said Mayor Brown. “His vision illuminated our landscape. His humanity enriched our community. His integrity exemplified our values. His passion inspired our loyalty. And his generous heart earned our love. I’m honored to ask Mary Wilson to accept this Key to the City of Buffalo from me on behalf of a very grateful City, in honor of the everlasting contributions of the Wilson Family.”
After the speech, the largest group in Convention Center history filtered outside into the snow, armed with optimistic thoughts.