Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today unveiled new signage renaming the portion of West Genesee Street honoring the late businessman and Downtown Buffalo Developer Mark Croce. Mayor Brown, joined by Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen and Jessica Croce, Croce’s widow, unveiled the new signs at a press conference in Niagara Square near Statler City, one of Croce’s businesses in the Downtown area. Mayor Brown first announced plans for “Mark Croce Way” at his 14th annual State of the City Address on February 20th, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. The street designation, located on West Genesee Street between Niagara Square and Franklin Street, is set to be approved by Buffalo Common Council at an upcoming meeting.
Mayor Brown stated, “Mark Croce was an early Downtown Buffalo booster. He invested heavily in Buffalo, employing hundreds of people in the City and the Statler Building would not be standing today if it was not for Mark’s herculean efforts. You can’t be in Downtown without being reminded of Mark and with this street renaming the memory of his immense contributions to our City’s resurgence will be forever preserved.”
During the press event, Jessica Croce and Seneca One Developer Douglas Jemal announced that Jemal will become the newest caretaker of the Statler Building. This is Douglas Development’s latest investment in Buffalo and another demonstration that the City of Buffalo’s positive economic momentum continues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jessica Croce stated, “I am so grateful that Doug is taking Mark’s vision for the Statler to another level. Everything that Mark has brought to Buffalo is just amazing, what a great legacy to leave. He really had a good vision for Buffalo.”
Douglas Jemal, Douglas Development Founder and President, stated, “Mark and I were very much alike, we went where people don’t go. We always danced to our own drummer. And that is what it takes to put something back together again. I don’t own the Statler and I didn’t buy the Statler, I am just a caretaker. All of us are caretakers, we do the right thing to pass it along to the next generation. We are very fortunate that Mark had the vision to save this gem.”
On Friday, May 29th, the Belle Center will be giving away bags of free groceries and masks to families in need at 104 Maryland Street. The distribution runs from 9 am to 1 pm.
Mayor Brown, FeedMore WNY, WUFO-AM 1080/Power 96.5 FM and the McGuire Development Co., LLC, will also host a free Emergency Food Kit Drive-Thru/Walk-Up Giveaway in the African American Heritage Corridor. It will take place Friday, May 29th, from noon to 2 pm. Participants are asked to enter the parking lot at the corner of Michigan and Clinton.
ConnectLife says it currently has less than a 5 day supply of all blood types and less than a 3 day supply of type O, the most needed type. Donor appointments are down and Mayor Brown is asking healthy residents to give blood today to help maintain an adequate blood supply. Donating is safe and physical distancing precautions are in place to protect donors. To make an appointment or to host a blood drive, visit connectlifegiveblood.org.
Mayor Brown reminds City residents to cooperate with the City’s alternate parking rules. Please obey the “No Parking 6 pm Thursday to 6 pm Monday” signs. The alternate side parking is needed to ensure that emergency vehicles can get down those streets.
Mayor Brown is asking residents to help get the word out about participating in the 2020 Census. The City’s Census response rate as of Thursday, May 28th, is 48.1%. Mayor Brown set a goal of 100% participation. An accurate count allows the City to access hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid that fund infrastructure improvements, education, critical community programming and much more. Complete your questionnaire at 2020Census.gov.
Residents looking for work can get assistance through the Buffalo Employment and Training Center by calling 856-JOBS. Employment counselors are available for remote counseling sessions. Nearly 100 residents have been placed in positions since the beginning of the COVID-19 emergency.
Mayor Brown urges small businesses to register with the City’s new online resource for small businesses called “Reopen Buffalo.” The webpage will enhance the City’s ability to communicate with small businesses through the registry where businesses can also share information about their reopening status with each other and the general public. For more information, go to www.buffalony.gov. The webpage includes an interactive map and directory, as well as links to additional resources including: Business Health and Safely Guidelines, Bid Opportunities, Minority and Women-owned Business Services, New York Forward information, and a guide on how to start a small business in the City of Buffalo.
For businesses allowed to reopen, the Office of Permits and Inspection Services is assisting companies with any specific permit and licensing needs that cannot be met online at www.buffalony.gov/435/Permit-Inspection-Services. For licenses, call 851-6583 or 851-4951. For permits, call 851-4935 or 851-5033.
Buffalo City Hall remains closed to the general public at this time. If you are a business eligible for gradual reopening in Phase One and you require assistance or documentation from the City, you must call or email our offices. You can find contact information at buffalony.gov.
If you are interested in getting tested for COVID-19, find the closest test site near you by visiting covid19.buffalony.gov. The map contains a complete listing of all COVID-19 testing sites, with addresses, which are located throughout the City, contact information for setting up an appointment, hours of operation and whether the site requires a prescription by a doctor for testing. Additional locations to provide this vital service can be added to this resource by visiting www.buffalony. gov/SubmitTestSite.
Mayor Brown is pleased to celebrate Buffalo Public Schools Virtual Wellness Week, May 25-29th. Today, he encouraged students and their families, staff and City residents to take part in a series of daily activities that promote health and wellness. Each day features a different activity. Today marked ‘Thoughtful Thursday’. Participants are being asked to dress in bright colors. Use #thoughtfulthursday on the post. For more information, visit www.buffaloschools.org/Page/88638.