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Buffalo's Mayoral candidates at odds when it comes to local development

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Posted at 5:28 PM, Oct 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-07 18:09:42-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Democratic Mayoral Nominee India Walton went on a walking tour of Buffalo's west side on Thursday, October 7.

She shared her plans for local development.

“This is our effort to spread the word and encourage folks to patronize these businesses,” Walton said. “It’s to increase ownership, to close the racial, wealth and home ownership gap.”

The topic of land trusts was a hot topic between Walton and Mayor Byron Brown during their first debate on September 9. The mayor believes housing is being addressed.
Community Land Trusts are nonprofit, community-based organization designed to make sure that pieces of land or property are being taken care of and develped in the best interest of a community.

“Prior to my election as mayor there was already tremendous disinvestment in housing on the east side of Buffalo,” Brown said during the debate.

Walton says when she was executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust, they worked with Habitat for Humanity to build two homes. We reached out to Habitat for Humanity to verify Walton’s involvement but have not heard back yet.

“Her saying she built two houses, that was your great success with the fruit belt land trust,” Brown said during the debate.

“Because we didn’t have the cooperation of our leadership, we had to scale that project down a lot,” Walton said.

Walton says Buffalo's east and west side need new initiatives and ideas.

“Neighborhoods that are really craving something different, a new type of leadership that prioritizes people and workers over profits,” Walton said.

But both Walton and Brown agree that development is important.

“I’m not anti-development, I’m anti-development with displacement,” Walton said during the debate.

“Development is coming to this community and there is more on the way,” Brown said during the debate.

Walton says if elected she will start by talking to community members about their needs. We did reach out to Mayor Brown for comment on land trusts and development but have not heard back yet.