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Residents demand reinvestment in Jefferson Avenue

“We need to build back"
Posted at 5:55 PM, May 20, 2022

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Residents who live around the Jefferson Avenue neighborhood in Buffalo say it offers a rich history and deserves a new wave of investment from the city.

But they say the neighborhood has fallen victim to racial inequity.

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Jerome Wright, Voice Buffalo.

“Supermarkets, chains, box stores — we need them to come here,” Jerome Wright, Voice Buffalo.

Voice Buffalo members speaking out Friday saying there must be an end to racial disparities, white supremacy, and institutional racism.

They say as the community mourns the loss of ten people killed at the Jefferson Avenue tops, they want resources and a reinvestment.

Outside the Tops Markets on Jefferson Ave.

A former Jefferson Avenue resident, who's lost her aunt, Pearl Young in the mass shooting at tops, tells me she remembers growing up in a happy, vibrant neighborhood.

“We had nuclear families. We had mothers and fathers. We ate at certain times. Everybody knew everybody’s dinner time. We slept with the doors unlocked,” remembered Carolyn Banks McDougald.

McDougald grew up on Jefferson Avenue in the 1950s and 60s. She remembers a time when there were many shops and businesses along Jefferson Avenue, making it a vibrant life for its residents.

Carolyn Banks McDougald.

“And we had every store — fish markets — fresh fish — all types of fish markets — live chickens,” reflected McDougald. “

Carolyn says she remembers always having more than one grocery store.

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Former market on Jefferson Avenue.

“We had grocery stores. We had Bells. We had every type of store you could think of. We didn’t have to go out of the area,” McDougald remarked.

Carolyn turns 74 next month. During our talk, she also reflected on a time in Buffalo when there was an exodus of people from neighborhoods like Jefferson Avenue.

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Carolyn Banks McDougald.

“And I start seeing, when I turned like 16 or 17, those places start to diminish and I was wondering what was going on,” McDougald said.

Carolyn tells me she wants all of you to know Jefferson Avenue was more than just one main chain grocery store and now it's time to reinvest.

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Former Jefferson Avenue businesses.

“We need to build back the areas because Jefferson Avenue, I know I am a witness, Jefferson Avenue was prosperous and I don't know what it would look like today if kept flourishing,” McDougald remarked.