BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - It was not selected as a location for Buffalo's new train station but the old Central Terminal could be in store for some major improvements paid for with $5 million in taxpayer money from the Buffalo Billion II initiative. While the funding has not been allocated yet, supporters of the idea are now "optimistic" after NYS Economic Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky expressed an openness to the idea during a budget hearing in Albany on Monday.
Zemsky, a Buffalonian, felt dedicating funding to the Central Terminal would be aligned strategically with the state's development goals for the surrounding neighborhood.
The Central Terminal received a lot of attention during the process of choosing a new site for a Buffalo train station - attention that bought the plight of the Central Terminal to the attention of Albany lawmakers and Governor Cuomo.
NYS Senator Tim Kennedy is one of those strongly pushing for the funding and he directly asked Commissioner Zemsky about the money during the Monday hearing.
Kennedy believes in order for the Central Terminal to be considered a viable prospect for future development, the historic structure needs to be "stabilized" from deterioration caused by weather conditions.
Most of the hoped-for $5 million would be used to fix windows, repair leaks in the roof, and make repairs to crumbling masonry.
Some of the money would also be used to hire a small professional staff that would oversee the Central Terminal's revitalization by seeking out grants and development prospects.
For the past 20 years, a group of dedicated volunteers called the "Central Terminal Restoration Corporation" have owned and operated the site with hopes of future redevelopment.
In the attached clip, NYS Senator Tim Kennedy (D) explains why the money would be an "investment in the future" and not a waste of taxpayer funds.
7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more about this in his reports.