BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – The Western New York Hispanic Heritage Council is getting closer to its $10 million goal to create a new cultural institute on the city’s westside.

Manny Lezama is now the chairperson for this project. He says because he’s a Mexican- American it’s near and dear to his heart and he wants to make sure this project receives the funding it needs.

“This is our city and we need to be proud of it,” Lezama said. “The hispanic population is definitely going to embrace this.”

Plans are in the works to turn an empty lot on the corner of Hudson and Niagara Streets into Buffalo’s first ever Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute.

“Exciting, but it’s a lot to do,” Lezama said. “There is a big task in front of us we are in a city of Buffalo where everyone is will to help each other.”

The Institute’s mission is to celebrate Hispanic arts, culture and heritage while contributing to the growth of the city.

“This will be a big upgrade to the Niagara street corridor, a lot had been done is the last several years to enhance the Niagara street corridor from city hall to porter ave and this is just an addition and it’s a proud addition,” Hispanic Council President Casimiro Rodriguez said.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to embrace diversity and inclusion and open it to multiple groups of the community and the westside especially,” Lezama said.

National Grid donated $250,000 towards the institute. The Hispanic Heritage Council is hoping to break ground on the project by this time next year.