BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins came together to announce $1 million in federal funding for a new Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute in Buffalo Wednesday afternoon.

A planned 37,000-square foot facility on Niagara Street between Hudson and Pennsylvania, Gillibrand says it will include a theater, event space, cafe, media center and learning labs.

“The Buffalo community has seen more than its fair share of hardships over the last few years, but this is a moment of optimism,” Gillibrand said.

Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York President Casimiro D. Rodriguez, who spoke during the conference, noted the importance of the future institute’s location. He pointed out that being on the west side, it’s located within a part of Buffalo that travelers from Canada first arrive in when coming over via the Peace Bridge.

“This support is a testament to that government and community working together so that our communities thrive,” Rodriguez said.

Higgins says this funding is the second million-dollar investment the federal government is putting toward the project. According to the Hispanic Heritage Council, plans call for the institute to be “green energy efficient with solar panels and other energy savings.”

In all, the council says the project will cost $10 million, and that New York State is kicking in a hefty portion of the funds. Last year, $5 million for the center was announced as part of the state’s 2023 budget.

Rodriguez says the hope is to break ground in September and have the institute open next Fall.

(Cas Rodriguez, Rep. Higgins and Sen. Gillibrand)

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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.