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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On this Remembrance Weekend, New York State announced additional funding to support the iconic Apollo Media Center, which once served as the main movie theater on Jefferson Avenue.
Empire State Development and Gov. Kathy Hochul are investing $962,000 in the Apollo Media Center to bolster programs to help people on the East Side. It is all apart of New York State’s effort to revitalize the community.
“Change takes time. Money has been committed that’s a good thing,” Mayor Byron Brown added.
The state says this builds on the $65 Million Placemaking Strategy to revitalize East Buffalo. Millions have already been allocated to community beacons like the Central Terminal.
“We’re still here and we do have an opportunity not only to pour into the lives of those who lost loved ones, but also to pour into the entire community,” Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said.
More state dollars are heading to East Buffalo to add programs and new equipment to the Apollo Media Center, which has been a pillar of the Jefferson Avenue community for decades.
“This will allow the Apollo to expand its media education to area businesses and provide a creative, safe outlet for young people to explore music and art,” said Hope Knight, the Commissioner of Empire State Development.
This new investment comes after hundreds of millions of dollars have already been allocated to neighborhoods in the Queen City. Mayor Byron Brown says residents will start seeing those dollars flow into their backyards this spring, as construction season begins.
“The dots will be connected. It will build the East Side community ecosystem, the economic ecosystem, the cultural ecosystem,” Mayor Brown said.
Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says this money will directly benefit both the neighborhoods and community beacons, like the Central Terminal, Broadway Market and Apollo Theater.
“Particularly People of Color and Black people have not necessarily believed what government said because they had a good reason not to,” Peoples-Stokes added. “They need to believe this time it will happen and it is going to happen because, as the Mayor said, it is specifically targeted for the East Side. It can’t be used in Amherst. It can’t be used in Tonawanda.”
It is a message of hope to rebuild and reimagine.
“I think if we keep people particularly our leadership and our thought leaders in our community on a level of hope as opposed to a level of it’s not going to happen for us, then I think we would all be better off,” Peoples-Stokes concluded.
This is not the last investment New York State is making on the East Side. Officials tell us this will be a continued effort to build this community back stronger.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.