Jacobs, Ryan, Announce Italian Cultural Center Funding

L-R: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. State Senator Chris Jacobs, former Mayor Anthony Masiello and Assemblyman Sean Ryan at a press conference where the two state lawmakers announced $300,000 in funding for the new Italian Cultural Center at the former home of the North Park Library branch.
$300,000 to cover abatement, construction costs at former North Park Library branch

(Buffalo, NY) –Senator Chris Jacobs (60th SD) and Assemblyman Sean Ryan (149th AD) today announced $300,000 in state funding to support the development of the recently announced Italian Cultural Center. 

The new center will be housed in the former North Park Library branch at the corner of Hertel and Delaware Avenues.  The building has been vacant for almost a decade, and the state funds will be used for lead and asbestos abatement, as well general construction costs.  Both Jacobs and Ryan were able to secure funding of $150,000 through their respective houses in the state budget, providing a significant portion of the roughly $1 million estimated to complete the project. 

“This Cultural Center will tell of the incredible contributions Italian Americans have made to Western New York,” said Senator Jacobs. “I grew up coming to this library and I am thrilled this building will be saved and used for such a worthwhile pursuit.”

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “I am very excited that the former North Park Library branch will be saved and adaptively reused for the new Italian Cultural Center. It was not long ago that there was talk of tearing down this historic structure. Thankfully this building has found a new purpose, and I am pleased to join with Senator Jacobs to announce this important state investment which will help to make the Italian Cultural Center a reality.”

The property is currently owned by the City of Buffalo and had been for sale for many years.  Built in 1928, the building survived previous proposals to tear it down and earlier this year was granted local landmark status by the Buffalo Common Council.  Mayor Byron Brown and city officials recently announced that Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo had been chosen as the designated developer.

“I thank Senator Jacobs and Assemblymember Ryan for joining our effort to revitalize this classic North Park structure,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown. “Their support brings us a step closer to the creation of the new Italian Cultural Center, which will be a welcome addition to the City of Buffalo’s many cultural institutions.”  

“On behalf of the board and all of the members of the Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo, I want to offer our sincere thanks to Senator Jacobs and Assemblyman Ryan for their outstanding leadership and their tremendous financial support of our Italian Cultural Center project,” said Dr. Frank Giacobbe of the Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo.  “With today’s announcement we are well on our way to making the cultural center a reality, and creating a community asset that will benefit Buffalo for generations to come.”