A project to help improve Main Street in Buffalo now has some holes in it - literally. The Parkside Community Association says several granite plaques meant to bring some history to the area were stolen this weekend. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us more about their significance and why the association says they can't be replaced.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – If you're biking or walking in this area of Main Street, you'll have a chance to learn some local history - by simply looking at the sidewalk.
"There's a lot of effort on bringing Main Street back to what it once was, and we're trying to make sure that we target people at the personal, human scale," said Ben Johnson, executive director of the Parkside Community Association.
Johnson says the granite plaques were recently delivered and were being stored on a pallet in a private parking lot off Main Street.
"We had to keep them there so the that contractors could have access to them while they installed these. We couldn't move them into a basement, they're far too heavy," said Johnson.
But this weekend, eight of the plaques went missing.
"The hope was that these had no resale value and it was a fairly short window of time between when they were delivered and when they were installed," said Johnson, "Apparently, it wasn't short enough."
Johnson says plaques are only two inches thick, but weigh about 100 pounds and are already engraved, which makes him and other local business owners wonder why anyone would steal them.
"What will you do with it? I have no understanding of it. To me, personally, it's a waste of time and it's sick," said Robert Brown, owner of Pee-Wee's Variety Store.
"I think that's very unfortunate because that was something to bring this neighborhood up. I mean, the whole, all of Main Street is being brought up," said Sherma Nicholas, part owner of Cocoa Fantasies Spa and Salon.
Johnson says the 30 plaques represent about $16,000 of a larger grant from the State Department of Housing.
Now, with eight gone, "We're now out about $4,200 for a small, non-profit that relies on $20 donations to get by," said Johnson.
He says the association doesn't have the money to replace them. So if someone lets them know where the plaques are, they'll go get them, no questions asked.
"We're, at this point, just relying on the better angels of someone's nature to make this right. We're hoping for a Thanksgiving miracle right now," said Johnson.
Johnson says they have filed a report with police.
Anyone with information on the plaques can contact the Parkside Community Association by phone at 716-838-1240 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org