The Elmwood Village will make up much of our free and inclusive Season Finale Ride this coming Monday, October 28th, hosted by Community Beer Works (520 7th Street, Lower West Side, 6pm sharp start), including major streets Elmwood, Richmond and Forest, among the most walkable and bikeable areas of Buffalo – although, of course, the bar is low here in our car-centric city…
…learn more about this area below from Elmwood Village Association executive director, GObike Buffalo board treasurer, and Buffalo Bike Party cofounder Ashley Smith.
What inspired the founding of EVA?
I’m so excited to answer this question! I’ve spent considerable time looking back at and reading about the history of the Elmwood Village Association, formerly Forever Elmwood Corporation.
The Elmwood Village Association was founded 25 years ago by Michael Attardo, a small business owner and community member. Excerpted from a Buffalo News article November 21st, 1994: “A small brigade of sidewalk ‘vigilantes,’ armed with brooms, shovels, trash bags and chemicals, rectifying the sins committed by litterers and graffiti artists and doing small jobs neglected by business owners and residents. These mop-handle minions of Forever Elmwood, a fast-growing neighborhood association, have taken the law of beautification into their own hands to preserve the Elmwood Strip as a prime shopping and dining area.”
The Elmwood Village Association grew out of and remains a grassroots effort by community members including area residents, small business owners and partners to work collectively for a better neighborhood.
What are the greatest challenges to achieving its mission?
Naturally, balancing the needs of diverse stakeholder groups can be challenging. I would add that many of the organization’s events and activities are volunteer-run and the organization is always in need of hands to help!
How is EVA working toward a more walkable, bikeable Buffalo?
The EVA actively promotes walkability by investing in beautification initiatives on Elmwood Avenue each year. Looking to the future, the organization is producing a Streetscape Plan and exploring Business Improvement District development to make improvements and investments into the streetscape more feasible. The EVA continues to advocate for improved bicycle and pedestrian investments by the city. And, lastly, the EVA has been working with community stakeholders to identify locations for added playspaces and public spaces for our community to gather.
What are your favorite fun facts that few know about EVA?
Here are a couple:
- Our farmers market is a producers-only market, meaning when you buy foods at our market, you’re buying direct from the farmer that grew it. Earlier this year, we mapped all of our vendors – if you’re curious to see where our vendors are from in the region, check this out.
- The Elmwood Village Association has administered over a million dollars in matching grants to support the improvement and preservation of Elmwood Avenue buildings.
How can community members get involved?
The EVA is always on the lookout for community members who are willing to support and contribute to the betterment of our neighborhood. Reaching out by email to email@example.com or filling-in our volunteer interest form today. Or join us for an upcoming event! This Friday, November 1st, the EVA celebrates 25 years with an anniversary gala. We have a few tickets still available, but guests must RSVP by Tuesday!