University Heights, Buffalo, NY

Monday, March 30, 2009

Two Interesting Articles on University Communities and the Economy

Kelly Evans writes in the Wall Street Journal that college towns continue to be regarded as recession-resistant even during this global economic down-turn. Those college towns who are surviving especially well are the major education centers and those areas with regional education based health-care centers. Colleges and college towns are experiencing some of the similar budget woes as the rest of the country, but, unemployment rates in college towns like Ames, Iowa; Logan, Utah; Morgantown, WV; Iowa City, Iowa; Manhattan, KS; and Lafayette, LA rank among the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

A "factor helping college towns: 'communiversity,' the current term for partnerships between universities and their home cities, such as joint economic development projects. The trend also reflects a shift in education to increasingly emphasize out-of-classroom learning, such as internships and volunteer work that by definition engages the community, according to Sal Rinella, president of the Society for College and University Planning in Los Angeles. 'We could actually call these town-gown partnerships a kind of new movement in American higher education,' he says. 'In the last 20 years or so, the boundaries between the cities and the universities have really begun to crumble'."

Forbes magazine added that they often
rank College Towns high on the FORBES' list of Best Places for Business and Careers. In fact,half of this year's top ten metros host big schools.Austin,Tex., Raleigh and Durham, N.C., Boulder, Colo. and Madison, Wis. all added jobs in the recession years of 1991 and 2001.Unfortunately, 2009 may present added difficulties to ALL, including college towns and for these, just breaking even with jobs and business will be a success.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Organized Religion

Within a short walk of the University at Buffalo’s South Campus you can find yourself on the doorstep of several different places of worship.

Here is the rundown, in no particular order:

St. Joseph’s University Roman Catholic Church, 3269 Main Street
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 3107 Main Street
University Presbyterian Church, 3334 Main Street
Chabad House of Buffalo, 3288 Main Street
Saints Home Church, 336 Winspear
United Methodist Church, 410 Minnesota
Bailey Avenue AME Zion Church, 3296 Bailey Avenue
Cornerstone Community Methodist Church, 49 Capen
New Bethel Community Church, 175 Englewood
Cathedral of Praise, 3189 Main Street
And two quick stops down the subway will drop you in front of the Islamic Society of the Niagara Frontier, at 40 Parker Avenue at the corner of Amherst Street.
Indeed organized religion is alive and well here in the University District. Tell us where you worship and we can add the location to the list.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Get Involved in Our Neighborhood Events

Here is your chance to get involved in two of our neighborhood activities, the Farmers Market and the Capen Garden Walk.

This Monday, March 23 at 6:00pm will be a committee meeting for the Samuel P. Capen Garden Walk. If you like to garden, and are interested in helping with this year’s event, please come to the meeting and bring your ideas. See photos of the Garden Walk here.

Tuesday, March 24 at 6:00pm will be a committee meeting for the University Community Farmers Market which runs Saturdays from May to October on the UB South Campus. The market is a great community social event, please come get involved.

Both meetings will be held in the conference room in 101 Allen Hall, which is the 2-story glass building right across from Tim Horton’s. Parking is free and available next to the building in either lot.

All are welcome. RSVP with Jessica Biegaj in Community Relations at 829-6145 or We look forward to seeing you there.
Photos by Nancy J. Parisi and UB International Admissions.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Request to Mayor for more Police in the Heights

The Honorable Byron Brown
Mayor of the City of Buffalo
201 City Hall
Buffalo, NY 14202

11 March 2008

Dear Mayor Brown;

On behalf of the University Heights Collaborative and St. Joseph University Parish VOICE, two groups of residents addressing various quality of life issues, we are writing to request four specific actions of City Hall and District E Buffalo Police.

As you are aware, the University Heights area has a high concentration of University at Buffalo students and out-of-town landlords. University student house parties that spill onto residential streets, and teenage parties at Linear Park, have been chronic issues that distress homeowners and other students. Rental houses are in abundance along Merrimac, Englewood, and Heath Streets. Significantly, the teenage parties at Linear Park often involve fires, loud music, and drug use/dealing, beginning as early as 3PM when school lets out. Guns have been carried in the open, brandished to pedestrians, and assaults have occurred. I am pleased to inform you the our groups are currently working together with UB and the NFTA Police to address these issues as the weather turns warmer this April and May. We are doing our part, and will do more.

However, a combined approach to these problems is critical, and involves increased law enforcement help from City Hall to ensure a complete and long-lasting solution. The four requests we have are:

A) An increase in the number of Buffalo Police officers deployed in our neighborhood west of Main Street and along Linear Park. We understand the new class of recruits will graduate from the police academy this summer. An overall visible increase in regular police patrols, where residents can get to know the officers in our community, will provide a sense that City Hall has not abandoned University Heights.

B) A stepped-up commitment by City Hall to enforce quality of life "crimes and misdemeanors" activity. We believe that this effort was a campaign promise of yours, and has been successful most recently on Chippewa, for example. Different City departments may be engaged, specifically with task-force sweeps, to address theft and drug-related crimes.

C) A collaborative strategy that increases police presence during peak party times such as recently on Chippewa. At a minimum, focus should be given to Thursday through Saturday nights during the months of April, May, September and October, when students return for classes. Our groups have been communicating with University at Buffalo Police Department on a strategy as well.

D.) A specific strategy that streamlines City Police and University at Buffalo Police Departments’ responses to calls. It is our understanding that there are delays in sending calls to UB Police depending on call frequency. UB Police should be able to respond directly to 911 calls without Buffalo Police being an intermediary.

In the past year, you and Commissioner Gipson met with three churches and residents on the West Side with positive results. A similar meeting with you was called approximately 18 months ago by Councilmember Russell. A new meeting in University Heights would be timely as our groups focus on neighborhood watch activities and other projects.

Finally, Heights residents are encouraged by the University’s UB2020 plans for growth of students and faculty in our community. Main Street is a gateway entrance to both the South Campus and the City that we are proud of. The University Heights Collaborative and St. Joseph University VOICE realize our members must be engaged with other shareholders to make our community attractive and safe for these new homeowners and quality students – a vibrant community where people desire to be at all hours. We look forward to your involvement as well. Thank you for your efforts regarding these matters.


David Ellerbrock, Ph.D. Robert Heffern
President President
University Heights Collaborative St. Josephs University Parish VOICE

Friday, March 13, 2009

Three-Step Procedure for Obtaining Police Response to Emergency & Neighborhood Nuisance Behavior

Build your neighborhood! Remember that the best way to build a quiet, civil neighborhood is to know your neighbors before any incidents occur. Everyone will proactively be more responsible for the neighborhood this way, and have direct influence on quality of life. If you have already spoken with your neighbor and they do not respond positively, then the following steps may be taken:

1. Call 911. State the complaint clearly and with descriptions.

The purpose of this step is to ensure your complaint is formally registered. The 911 system is run by Erie County, not the City of Buffalo, and the City prioritizes all calls. Student partying/loud neighbors/drunken neighbors usually are a lower priority than emergencies. This step may result in the police coming to your aid quickly, but emergencies elsewhere in the district may be happening.

2. Call the District E Station (851-4416), and ask to speak to the Lieutenant on duty and ask them to request help from University Police officers.

The purpose of this step is to contact the Buffalo Police directly. A Lieutenant may not be available since they are on patrol. If not available, ask that a Lieutenant be contacted regarding the disturbance.

Note that only the Buffalo Police Lieutenant has the authority to request help from University at Buffalo Police officers. This authority is outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between UBP and BPD.

!! It is critical you call 911 first, since even District E personnel need to call 911 if you do not! Calls are logged into CitiStat and will eventually be addressed. !!

If there is no response to an emergency situation quickly, then call 911 and District E again. Nuisance behaviors may take longer.

3. Involve Office of Student Affairs & Office of Community Relations at UB.

If the problem is being caused by UB students, then record the address, time, how many students, if people are coming and going from the address, in what direction are they leaving, etc. License plate numbers are helpful. This information may be reported to Mary Clare Fahey at UB’s Off-Campus Services - or 829-2493. Finally, follow-up the incident at the next Problem Properties Task Force meeting (contact UB Office of Community Relations at 823-3099 or 829-3524 for date of next meeting). The PPTF can engage City Inspections. Inform other neighbors of the incident and get them organized in a neighborhood watch or block club. The UHC can assist with this.
For Crime and Drug Activity
Call the Confidential Tip Line at 847-2255. Tips go to the top of District E for review. Do not expect a follow-up call regarding progress. Crimes and tips may also be reported over email at: .
For Problems on NFTA Property
Call 911, and then the NFTA Dispatch at 855-6405.
*Nuisance behavior includes loud student parties, speeding, fighting, underage drinking, drug activity, public intoxication, drunk driving, etc.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Report Housing Violations Online

Sick of spending your lunch hour on the phone requesting to have a tree removed? The City of Buffalo 311 Call and Resolution Center provides citizens with fast, centralized access to city services. Register complaints, get information, and access non-emergency police services. When appropriate, a Reference Number will be assigned to your request so that you can track its progress. There are two easy ways to reach us:

Call 311 or (716) 851-4890. The Call Center hours are posted to the right. During periods when the Center is closed, you can leave a voice-mail message. Or even better —

Online from their web page anytime!

Monday, March 9, 2009

University Height Collaborative

The University Heights Collaborative (UHC) is a community-based group of residents and other interested people working together to maintain and enhance the quality of life for all in our neighborhood. We have been doing this by establishing neighborhood watches on each street. This strategy empowers the residents to address issues immediately arond them. Our committees include: Beautification, Business Involvement, Communication, Crime & Safety, and Landlord Outreach. We work with residents, property owners, University at Buffalo staff and students, law enforcement officers, business owners, our elected officials, and other community leaders in order to coordinate resources and co-create our future.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Buffalo’s Favorite Mediterranean Eatery Sets up Shop in the Heights

The Falafel Bar
3476 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14214

The owners of the Falafel Bar in the Elmwood Village and Allentown have chosen University Heights for their latest location. Occupying a small, unassuming storefront on Main Street across from UB South Campus, this fresh new restaurant brings a Mediterranean vibe to the neighborhood. All food is authentically homemade using local Buffalo markets like Guercio’s for their ingredients as well as delicacies imported from Lebanon and Toronto. Reasonably priced menu offers falafel, hummus, soups, maza, salads, souvlaki, platters, wraps, desserts, and a kid’s menu. Dine in or take out, they are open from 11am-10pm every day except Sunday when their hours are between noon and 8 p.m.

Award Winning Indie Films in an Old Time Theater

Amherst Theater
3500 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14226

The Amherst Theater, located at 3500 Main Street in the University Plaza, offers a unique selection of critically acclaimed independent films. One of three locally owned and operated theaters, the Amherst is a great source of culture for film afficionados. The movies are selected by a New York City film booker and can usually only be seen locally at the Amherst Theater. The theater itself is a throwback to the ‘50’s from the neon marquee to the real butter used in their popcorn. There are usually only 3 films playing at a given time due to there only being 3 screens, adding an endearing quality to the theater that is lost in modern cinemas. It’s location across from UB South is ideal for Heights residents, UB south dormers, or North Campus dormers taking the Stampede. Students pay $7 at all times except Tuesdays when all films cost only $6.50. Use the link above to see what films are currently playing and be sure to make it over for a one of a kind movie experience!