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Busti Avenue Demolition Begins

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Buffalo: Busti Avenue Demolition Begins
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "It’s an outrage and if you're not angry, you're not informed," said resident Peter Certo.

Some residents are speaking out after several abandoned and dilapidated homes along Busti Avenue were demolished Saturday.

For months, preservationists and several state and local politicians have battled it out over whether to demolish the homes to make way for the Peace Bridge expansion project.

A motion to stop demolition was denied Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court, allowing the Peace Bridge authority to move forward.

"We would have liked to see the public bridge authority take the role like the Thousand Islands Bridge and restore the properties that surround them to make for a beautiful portal to the city," said resident Dana Saylor. "It’ll mean less access to the waterfront because there'll be giant cement ramps cutting everything off."

"A Friday night demolition permit rewarding the public bridge authority, the owners of this property for their two decade long blighting of this neighborhood," said Certo.

In a statement, Peace Bridge Authority Board Member Sam Hoyt said:

"The Authority is pleased to be able resume its efforts to remove these blighted properties from the West Side neighborhood. This spring we will begin a landscaping initiative that will turn these properties from a dangerous eyesore to an attractive green space and buffer from the Plaza traffic."

The Peace Bridge Authority plans to construct a duty free plaza near the area, saying it would create jobs and stimulate the local economy. Some residents still aren't sold on the idea.

"This is no economic boon to anyone, money to no one but an entity that considers itself above the laws of this state," said Certo.

"It’s also about what our city government and our state government and Sam Hoyt who used to represent us and now has turned our back on us," said Saylor.

The Authority says it has planned to demolish the homes since they were first purchased back in the 1990's.

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