Hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve Grant St. businesses, infrastructure

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Fred Daniel is celebrating his American Dream this weekend.

The owner of Freddy J’s BBQ on Grant Street is getting funding to help further improve his business 30 years after he first came to Buffalo.

“I went to Buff State, and I, too, walked on Grant street, and never left Grant Street,” Daniel said during a news event to announce the funding this week.

Daniel and his partner are using about $34,000 in funding from the Buffalo Billion 2 to create an enclosed patio space, and more.

“The space we are are standing in right now, we are going to turn into a jazz bar to create a night life here,” Daniel said.

“‘Night life’ meaning we’ll close at 10 o’clock because I’m old and I’ve got to go to bed,” he added, laughing.

Freddy J’s is one of six Grant Street businesses getting a share of about $250,000 in Buffalo Billion 2 money.

The awards include:

  • G&L Flooring – 208 Grant St – $50,000
  • Frontier Liquor – 119 Grant St – $50,000
  • Lorigo’s Meating Place – 185 Grant St – $50,000
  • Buffalo Cooperative – 251 Grant St – $34,166.68
  • Freddy J’s – 195 Grant St – $34,166.66
  • 83-89 Grant St – $34,166.66

That funding will allow the businesses to restore aging exteriors, complete necessary repairs, and bring the buildings into compliance with the local municipal code.

Paul Murphy, owner of G&L Flooring, says he’ll use his $50,000, in part, to get four apartments in his building ready to rent as more people move into the neighborhood.

“I have seen the ups and downs of the street, and I can tell you, it’s certainly on the upswing,” Murphy said.

Indeed, Grant Street is growing, with more new businesses coming in and new residents making that area home. Many are new to this country.

“People from all over the world walk up and down this street. On any given day, you’ll come across 45 different nationalities, cultures,” said Common Council Majority Leader David Rivera. “And that’s what makes this neighborhood beautiful.”

This neighborhood also has to be walkable and bike-friendly.

About a third of the people who live around Grant Street don’t have access to cars, said Assemblyman Sean Ryan when he was announcing the funding for these projects.

Ryan says, to help sort out the infrastructure needs, the Oishei Foundation is giving about a hundred thousand dollars and David Rivera’s office is giving $17,000 for a comprehensive study and to begin putting some infrastructure improvements in place right away.

“We’re going to listen to the community, talk about what they need, and then do ‘pop up complete streets projects,'” said Justin Booth, executive Director of GObike Buffalo. “So going out there, painting crosswalks, painting bump outs. doing some of these temporary improvements so we don’t need to talk about and look at in pictures, we can actually go out and touch it and feel it and see these tangible results. If it doesn’t work, we can change it.”

The pop up infrastructure, which includes things like removable bump-outs at intersections, temporary bike lanes, and creative reuse of parking spaces to support seating for restaurants, will allow leaders to see how people interact with the new patterns and all the public to provide feedback before permanent solutions are designed.

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