Future Home of High Street Market – “An Outdoor Farmers Market”
There is growing urgency to address food insecurity on the city’s East Side, especially in the wake of the Tops massacre. From grassroots efforts to full-fledged development initiatives, it is now clearer than ever that help is finally on the way.
One of the most recent developments to be announced is the advancement of a new market on the High Street, between Locust and Mulberry Streets in the city’s Fruit Belt District. The project is that of St. John Community Development Corp., with financial support from Buffalo’s Black Billion. The new market – dedicated to providing access to fresh food – will occupy the site of four vacant properties on the High Street – 226, 232, 236 and 238. The combined corner lot is within sight of the Medical Campus.
The Development Corp. paid $142,000 to the City of Buffalo and $60,000 to Promised Land Church for the plots.
“We have worked for many years to acquire these properties with a specific vision,” said Overseer/Pastor Michael Chapman, who leads St. John Baptist/Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church. “Now that all barriers have been removed and we are able to purchase the properties, our plan is to turn them into a high street market, an adjacent outdoor farmers market (in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension of the Erie County) and a Youth Business Incubator for community jobs (in conjunction with Buffalo Public Schools.) Our mission is not just to become an economic booster for the East Side of Buffalo, but to cultivating access to fresh foods from this region.
Chapman also noted that the project will result in “Two churches, two campuses, one village” in the Michigan Street neighborhood, which is currently seeing a surge of investment in its historic housing stock.
Buffalo’s Black Billion* initiative was established in 2002 by Pastor Chapman to serve as an economic engine for the East Side of Buffalo through construction, renovation, programming and ministry. Dean Architects and Lamparelli Construction have been chosen to manage the estimated $3 million project.
“This is the largest faith-based, God-directed African-American redevelopment project in Buffalo’s history,” said St. John Baptist Trustee Michael Norwood Sr. “This High Street Market is a $250,550,000 continuation of our already underway development in the Fruit Belt, and is also the stepping stone to our new vision – a billion dollar plan to renovate and resurrect the Avenue Corridor. Jefferson from Cherry Street to East Ferry Street (“Cherry to Ferry”), creating jobs in construction, small business healthcare, wellness, energy efficiency and entrepreneurial training. Avenue to one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares will require a great deal of interaction and communication with current and past residents of the community.You can be assured that the finished product will have a significant memorial to our ten beautiful black neighbors including life has was lost in this senseless hate crime on 5.14.
A number of elected officials led by Mayor Byron Brown, as well as business and community leaders, including Buffalo Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Tonja M. Williams, Senior Vice President/Regional Director, WNY Community Preservation Corp. Andrew D’Agostino, Principal of Dean Architects, Mark Dean, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County Diane Held, Buffalo Urban Leagues Project Hope Program Coordinator, Melissa Spikes-Archer and Reverend Tim Brown, President, Baptist Ministerial Conference of Buffalo, New York and vicinity.
Immediately after the project was announced, Administrator Norwood and the Reverend Dr. English led community leaders and residents in a peaceful commemoration at the site of the Jefferson Avenue massacre, where the names of those injured and killed were read. out loud, followed by 126 seconds of silence to mark the first month of the 5.14 racial hate crime.
The renewed commitment to uniting Buffalo and the nation is more important than ever. Locally, there has been an outpouring of support, from food drives to rallies. People are coming together to address issues of disparity, violence, racism…and the resulting food deserts that prevent residents from accessing healthy food options that those in more affluent neighborhoods take for granted.
Additional support for the development of Buffalo’s Black Billion High Street Market has come from:
- California and Washington, D.C.
- James Farr, National Association of Black Journalists
- Reverend Dr. Que English, the new director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships of the United States Department of Health and Human Services
“The Fruit Belt takes its name from the large number of orchards and vegetable gardens that German immigrant settlers planted in this area in the 1800s and the eventual naming of surviving streets,” Farr said. “To imagine that this fallow property where we stand today will once again be farmed into land that provides fresh food for the people of this community is an inspiring spark that will hopefully light the way for continued improvements for this area. who is so deeply in need.”
“Access to fresh food is not a new issue here in the Fruit Belt and surrounding East Side neighborhoods,” Dr. English said. “The creation of this High Street Market is an important first step in solving this problem. However, following the deadly massacre and loss of life on Jefferson Avenue a month ago today, we must be vigilant in also providing expanded mental health care resources, not only as part of the process of healing from this tragedy, but also as a necessary support for daily life. it weighs on people’s minds as well as their spirits.
Buffalo’s Black Billion current projects include: $57 million for the renovation of McCarley Gardens; $160 million for the new construction of McCarley Gardens; $30 million for the renovation of the St. John towers; $1.8 million for the historic restoration of the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church; and $550,000 for the renovation of a building that will house ROAM/Spectrum Mental Health. St. John Baptist Trustee Michael Norwood Sr. outlines the overall scope of the initiative.