A community which has faced violence and tragedy over the years is hoping to reach a turning point Thursday night.
Those organizing the Buffalo Road Neighborhood Plan saying that they’re confident that this will be the start of positive change.
It was standing room only Thursday night at the neighborhood meeting where people of all backgrounds were looking forward to a new community.
The culmination of years of work on Erie’s east side was presented Thursday night to community members and city leaders.
“If we can win in this neighborhood, we can win in any neighborhood in this city,” said Gary Horton, coordinator of the Eastside Grassroots Coalition.
All efforts of the Eastside Grassroots Coalition have been striving to help rejuvenate Buffalo Road and the surrounding neighborhood.
The coalition has been working with the city’s department of planning to draft a plan to present to city council.
“We’re really set up to move forward, to transform this neighborhood here on Erie’s lower east side, make it a great place to live, and eliminate a lot of the crime and things that go on here now,” said Erie Mayor Joe Schember.
That plan takes a city conducted survey of more than 2,000 properties into consideration, infrastructure needs, and community response.
It also looks to improve parks, local creeks, and corridors where people enter the neighborhood.
“We realized that the city’s initial focus was to address downtown and the waterfront. People in our neighborhood felt that we could not afford to wait five years, eight years until those plans took root,” Horton explained.
According to city officials, the Buffalo Road Neighborhood contains the highest concentration of youth under 18 in the city, equaling about 50 percent of the community. Horton said the young people should feel hope as they grow and become leaders.
“Tonight, was a turning of the page to that and announcing a new day with a new vision and a new hope,” Horton stated.
City council will be presented the plan and if approved, they’ll be able to request federal and state funding.