Neighborhood Engagement

Goal: Partner with residents to identify, address, and resolve issues that may impact our adjacent neighborhoods including housing density, neighborhood sustainability, transportation and parking, and economic opportunity for residents.

Sharing Success Beyond the Medical Campus Borders

Consideration for the diverse and historic neighborhoods adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (Allentown, the Fruit Belt, our neighborhoods to the North, and Downtown) has been a guiding principle since the formation of the BNMC, Inc. in 2002.

Residents and neighborhood stakeholders have been an important part of “Four Neighborhoods, One Community,” BNMC’s long term, integrated planning effort that began in 2008 and recognized the importance of planning for our growth together. The master plan reinforced our commitment to adhering to smart growth principles of urban development by creating a dense, vibrant Campus and continues to be our framework for collaborative engagement with our neighborhood partners.

BNMC’s team works with our neighbors within a one-mile radius to identify, address and resolve issues of shared concern. Using our MutualCity methodology, we invest our resources, collaborate with key stakeholders and partners, and by develop creative solutions to provide opportunities for local residents. Our unique and comprehensive community approach has been cited as a model for anchor institutions in other cities.

Highlights of BNMC’s investment in the surrounding neighborhoods include

Building relationships and understanding issues:

  • Maintain an open door policy in addition to hosting opportunities for neighborhood input including our quarterly “Four Neighborhoods, One Community” meetings and smaller “At the Table” mealtime conversations with local residents.
  • A representative from the Allentown and Fruit Belt neighborhoods are voting members on our Board of Directors, alongside the leaders of the member institutions and elected officials.
  • Identified and trained “GO Buffalo Champions,” through our GO Buffalo community outreach program, who represent neighborhood interests and facilitate communication regarding key BNMC initiatives of benefit for their neighbors.
  • Hosted in-depth leadership training in conjunction with UB, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Leadership Buffalo for Fruit Belt neighborhood stakeholders. This led to the creation of Orchard Community Initiative (OCI), a neighborhood organization focused on housing and workforce initiatives.
  • Developed the Neighborhood Explorer program as a way to raise awareness of the amenities around the Campus and encourage employees to patronize local businesses.

Workforce and Economic Development Initiatives

  • Build economic opportunity through our Workforce and Procurement Work Councils to develop strategies to better connect local residents with employment and business opportunities on the Medical Campus.
  • Conducted studies and surveys on job and training opportunities, transportation barriers, and parking issues and housing, which have led to the development of new approaches designed to assist local residents.
  • Through our Enterprise Fairs and direct connections, we have opened up business opportunities for local, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses with the Campus entities, directly impacting their success and growth.

Improved infrastructure that Benefits our Neighbors

  • Secured $8.4 million in Federal, state and local grants to enhance streetscapes and public spaces on and around Campus including improved lighting, landscaping, bike storage and physical improvement designed to increase safety, encourage healthy lifestyles and to create an inviting, pedestrian-friendly environment. We also secured $6.8 million in funding to improve pedestrian access and streetscape design to connect Allentown and the Medical Campus.
  • Worked with the City of Buffalo and Kaleida Health to ensure that the $1M in funding from the sale of the Goodrich Street Garage went directly into supporting infrastructure improvements for Carlton Street in the Fruit Belt.
  • Helped coordinate the planning and development of the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine, that will include a state-of-the-art Metro Rail station within the building.
  • Conducted a Housing Study to inform our role in supporting housing and community development near the Campus, along the transit line, and within ¼ mile of train stations and bus stops.

Transportation and Access

  • Secured funding to study and identify solutions for local residents in the Fruit Belt Neighborhood impacted by employees parking on their streets.
  • Implemented a Campus-wide community outreach program, GO Buffalo, to identify and help address transportation and mobility issues in surrounding neighborhoods and to share job and transportation information with residents.


  • In partnership with National Grid, we recently introduced the Fruit Belt Neighborhood Solar Partnership, an energy savings opportunity that includes free installation of rooftop solar systems for participating residents, limited roof repairs and opportunities to participate in additional energy efficiency programs.

Health & Active Living

  • Secured funding in 2003 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, leading to more than $1 million to implement Active Living by Design, Healthy Eating by Design, and Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Buffalo, national programs to study and implement healthy eating and active living policy and environmental-change initiatives in the local neighborhoods. As a result, more than $12M was secured for infrastructure changes on and around the Campus, and significant city-wide policy changes were realized.
  • Helped create the Moot Senior Community Center community garden in the Fruit Belt to provide an outdoor recreational activity for seniors, and to make fresh produce accessible to residents. The BNMC also worked with the Massachusetts Avenue Project to set up a weekly mobile farmers market there for local residents.