Challenger Community News / Letter To The Editor

OPEN LETTER TO THE FILLMORE LEROY COMMUNITY"

Dear Fillmore Leroy Community:
The Buffalo News ran a story in their July 30, 2015 publication entitled ‘Family Dollar controversy takes new turn’.  The news article is wrought with lies and misrepresentations.

The Fillmore Leroy Area Residents, Inc. (FLARE, Inc.) is a long standing nonprofit organization located at 307 Leroy Avenue in the City of Buffalo and has been serving the surrounding community for more than 35 years.  I said it at the Zoning Board meeting and I will say it again, “FLARE DID NOT receive $100,000 from the Family Dollar Corporation to support its proposal to build a new store at the corner of Amherst and Main Streets, nor has it been promised.”  

Our conversation centered around Family Dollar being a good community partner and the resources and support they would bring to the community. They have committed to support: 
    a) A neighborhood beautification project, the “Positive Images Project” which is designed to assist with the beautification of homes by in-kind donations of flowers, soil, mulch, grass seeds, fertilizer, and lawn ornaments or financial sponsorship donations. This Project is a collaboration of community businesses, developers, and elected officials that represent the Masten District.   
    b) Partnering with FLARE to sponsor a farmer’s market in the community. 
    c) Contributing to a minor home repair program.  This project     consists  of minor home repairs for 100 homes in the Fillmore Leroy Target areas, such as repairing porch doors, paint, replacing broken windows, rebuilding wooden porch steps, hand railings, caulking windows and more -- meeting the needs of low to moderate income families and seniors that reside in the Fillmore Leroy area.

Reasons those opposed to the store gave to substantiate their opposition include: 
     1) The need for fresh wholesome food in the area.  Until a market with fresh food is built residents can take advantage of the many farmers’ markets in the area such as the mobile markets at FLARE on Wednesday afternoons, the mobile market at Elim Christian Fellowship on Thursday afternoons, and at the Erie County Medical Center every Friday - all within walking distance in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Also an excellent opportunity for a good walk for your health. 
     Upon further scrutiny of Fillmore Avenue, one would notice the numerous vacant lots and buildings; any one of which would be an ideal location for a supermarket. Let’s work together to make this a reality.
    2) The need for a higher quality store.  Family Dollar is a retailer.  If you don’t care to shop there, you have that right.  It would, however, be a brand new edifice, the first of many new stores and businesses bringing capital into what is sure to become a revitalized and vibrant community. To the best of our knowledge, until now no one else has interested in this vacant property.

     Look and think outside of the box…  And while you are heaping hot coals on FLARE’s head, consider that an election is coming up for a new Masten District Councilmember. Politics can be a nasty business. Like you, we want the best possible candidate to represent all of the homeowners and residents in the Masten District.  

     Additionally, the developers for the proposed Family Dollar store, Hutchinson Development, LLC, are based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  Our illustrious Governor himself, Andrew Cuomo, strongly emphasized and encouraged the participation of out of state developers, contractors and businesses, with the promise of tax breaks.  There is plenty of the ‘billion’ to go around.

     We all want the same thing – to have our community thrive, grow and returned to its former beauty. We want this for us (our parents, our children and ourselves).
Your community servant, 
Wendy H. Anderson  ,Executive Director