BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the Elmwood Village a mural can be more than just a pretty sight. Therese Deutschlander, president of the Elmwood Village Association and a small business owner, said it's a bigger sign of area development.
"I think that that is a direct correlation to people want to hang out here, said Deutschlander. "They want it to be beautiful, and they appreciate it. It's not graffiti, it actually is beautiful."
In the past year almost a dozen businesses have opened in the Elmwood Village, according to the Elmwood Village Association. There's still about 20 vacancies right now, but that's down from the more than 30 vacancies in February of 2018.
When Norma Pastor was walking down Elmwood Avenue with her daughter and granddaughter between Bird and Forest, she noticed both the businesses and the vacancies.
"We come here walking to go into all the little shops, that's what we do, then you go to pass by here and you see this and it's an eye sore." Pastor said.
That empty lot Pastor was standing in front of was last home to a three-story house that was destroyed by a fire last month. Other multi-tenant homes line that stretch of Elmwood. The Village Association said it tries to get in contact with the landlords of vacant lots.
"The Village Association does try to work with getting a hold of the landlords of these buildings that don't look good to figure out if you're absentee, are you not interested in owning your building anymore, perhaps we can pair you up with someone who'd like to buy your building," Deutschlander said.
At the corner of Elmwood and Forest a new four-story mixed-used building is being built. The project will be home to retail on the first floor and 40 condominiums above.