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Mayor discusses city's revitalization

By Lauren Coppola
On May 2, 2013

 

Buffalo State welcomed the mayor of Buffalo to campus April 23 to deliver a lecture
titled "Neighborhoods, Business Districts and Urban Revitalization in Buffalo" as
part of the Year of the City's Public Administration Speakers' Series.
 
Mayor Byron Brown spoke about the difficulties of trying to manage the public and
nonprofit sectors, as well as how he is working to improve them.
 
One of the points that Brown highlighted was the Say Yes Buffalo collaboration,
which helps graduating Buffalo high school and charter school students obtain
scholarships and financial aid.
 
"We have found that one of the best ways to work with Buffalo schools was by
collaborating," Brown said.
 
The Say Yes Buffalo program was launched in 2011, and was implemented in the
2012-2013 school year. Brown said the program was created to help students
attain a scholarship to help them pay for college.
 
Brown also said he wanted to help improve the quality of life in Buffalo as well as
public safety.
 
"We have adopted a zero tolerance crime policy," he said. "We want to focus on
illegal guns, illegal gangs and drugs."
 
Mayor Brown said the city of Buffalo is experiencing the best fiscal year in about 30
years. He said that it's important to stay fiscally conservative and try to increase the
city's municipal credit rating.
 
"We are still in a time of great fiscal stress and strain it our country," Brown said. "In
our state as well."
 
Brown also revealed another initiative to revitalize downtown Buffalo, to create
more city growth and encourage more people and families to move into the city
from the suburbs.
 
After his lecture, Brown allowed time for an open discussion with anyone who had
questions.
 
"The students were highly engaged and interested in what the mayor had to say
and he was clearly enjoying spending time with them," said Janet Penska, graduate
political science professor at Buffalo State. "The session gave the students the
opportunity to see how the theory they learn in the classroom is applied in the real
world with the real challenges and opportunities facing government officials."
 
Penska said knowing what's happening in the city, where people live and work, is
important.
 
"Knowing the issues is the first step and having government officials in our
classroom allows for their views to be heard," said Penska.
 
Brown also shared the story of how he became mayor, and all of the different
positions he has held over the years.
 
"One of the students noted that Mayor Brown was a Buffalo State success story,"
said Penska. "He sat in the classroom and studied similar topics as our students
in the MPA program do. They were interested in how he got to be where he is: in
essence, his ingredients for success which were primarily attributed to hard work
and never giving up to fulfill his aspirations."
 
Mayor Brown said back in the 1950s Buffalo had a "bleeding population" with over
580,000 people. He said today Buffalo has only about 261,000 people and he hopes
to increase the population with the revitalization of the city.
 
"The future of Buffalo is now," Brown said.
 
Coppolla.record@live.com.

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