Sometimes I can’t believe it has been seven years and sometimes it feels like forever. My involvement in my childhood neighborhood of Broadway-Fillmore is something I take a lot of pride in.
Before starting Broadway Fillmore Alive (BFA) with Michele Johnson and Mike Miller, this is how I got involved in my old neighborhood.
It was late 2001. I was working on my Babcia’s house fixing her gutters. Her house was next my old family home on Ashley Street. After finishing and getting in my car, I sat there for awhile looking at my old street and it really struck me as to how much the neighborhood had changed and how much of it was being lost. I told myself right then and there that I needed to do something about it…thought of my Babcia, my family and the countless other people who helped build the neighborhood into a once thriving Polish community. Something needed to be done to protect their legacy and help save parts of the old neighborhood an its treasures.
Not long after that 2002, I noticed that the Broadway Market’s website hadn’t been updated in about three years. A phone call the next day to the Broadway Market’s executive director was made volunteering my services as a web designer to get the market’s website back up to snuff. That act set in motion more involvement in the old neighborhood. Next thing I know, I am helping with other aspects of the market. To this day, I still do their website and assist various projects there.
Then came 2003…the Response to Love Center (RTLC) just had a large chunk of its funding cut by the county. Looking to involve myself with other groups in the neighborhood, I proposed to Broadway Market management that the market should reach out to the RTLC and work on a partnership for the Easter season to help the center fund raise at market to close the budget gap the county left the center with. I made this partnership happen and it took my involvement to a whole new level.
Over the next couple of years, I started getting more involved. I joined Corpus Christi Church and started helping them with their preservation efforts. It was in the summer of 2005 that I met Mike Miller (RIP) at an event at the Central Terminal while I was manning a table for the Broadway Market. We started exchanging emails and talking via phone. Our conversations were the early groundwork for BFA. We both recognized the need to show the outside world that there were a lot of cool things still happening in the old neighborhood. Michele Johnson, who was a neighborhood housing advocate at the time, got drawn into the mix. She made Mike & I keenly aware of the realities facing the neighborhood outside the heritage and architectural treasures we adored. By the end of 2005, everything was in place for BFA. On January 16, 2006, we formally launched our efforts with this post—>
Since then, it has been one crazy trip. I can’t even remember all the projects I’ve worked on or all the places I have helped in the neighborhood. Sadly, we lost Mike Miller a few years ago. Michelle Johnson has moved on to become an intregal part of Buffalo ReUse.
Through it all one thing remains, BFA still helps make a difference in Broadway-Fillmore and keep it ALIVE.