Seneca Nation Grants $1 Million In Awards

June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM EDT

By WKBW News

June 5, 2012 Updated Jun 5, 2012 at 2:32 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - The Seneca Nation of Indians is taking a big step forward in helping to improve the area around the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, awarding 15 grants to local improvement projects.

"We're pleased to be at the tail end of a process that started a little over a year ago. A process rooted in understanding and finding out who our neighbors are, and how we can work better together for the future of our Buffalo Creek Territory and this whole area of South Buffalo," Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter said.

One million dollars in grant money was given out to organizations that will improve infrastructure, plant trees, build houses and much more.

Marion Judge was awarded more than $26,000 to start a bicycle rental and snack shop in the area.

"I have the building, and I'm excited to be in the neighborhood. I love the neighborhood and the history of the Buffalo River. Now, the park is there and it's exciting to be a part of all the development," Judge said.

The people awarded belong to the public and private sectors, including the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority. The Authority received more than $79 thousand dollars to improve homes, landscaping, purchase park benches, trash cans and signs.

"This area is one of the best kept secrets in the City of Buffalo. We're developing a transformation plan and one of our responsibilities is not only to revitalization the housing at the Perry Projects but also the surrounding areas," James Pitts with the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority said.

Seneca officials said these projects are crucial to the success of the casino and the Buffalo Creek area.