Neighbors have been pushing for demolition for years but nothing has been done with the vacant site.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — After years of fighting, residents living in Buffalo’s Seneca-Babcock neighborhood are one step closer to the end of an era as the city is set to finally demolish the long-standing Battaglia Demolition building early Monday morning.
The building, which was partially destroyed by a fire last year, has been vacant since 2018. Neighbors, including longtime residents Diane Lemanski and Brian Cummings, say their lives have been disrupted and compromised by the building, and their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
“For 10 years, you couldn’t open your windows or doors, you couldn’t even sit out here on the porch like this,” Lemanski said. “If you wipe something on my porch, your hand comes up all black, and that’s from it blowing from back there.”
Both Lemanski and Cummings say the owner, Peter Battaglia, has neglected to take care of his property despite numerous requests, leaving other neighbors to do his work.
“It’s been nothing but a nightmare,” Cummings says. “I’m tired of looking at it, it’s right across from my window.”
TN at 11: neighbors have been staring at the dilapidated Battaglia Demo bldg. for yrs despite *many* efforts to get it knocked down.
Diane is tired of rats, black soot, & pollution.
Brian is tired of the view & neglect.
Tmrw it is scheduled to come down. @WGRZ pic.twitter.com/UhPpHrKtFG
— Liz Lewin (@LizLewinTV) August 8, 2022
Pollution, rats, odor, noise … those are just a few of the things neighbors say have been disrupting their lives for over a decade now.
Lemanski, who has been at the forefront of this fight for action, told 2 On Your Side’s Liz Lewin, “The grass hasn’t been cut in five years back there, so we’re still going to be living with the rats.”
Back in April, after a growing number of complaints filed in, Common Council members Mitch Nowakowski and Bryan Bollman urged a judge to do something. By June, a judge ruled in favor of demolition.
Staff from the Clean Air Coalition of WNY will join residents on Peabody Street and wait the first steps of the demolition process, one that is set to start at 8 a.m. It’s possible if not Monday, then early Tuesday.
“It’s the end of an era,” Cummings says. “A bad era. Hopefully they can do something good with the place, maybe a playground, something for the kids we don’t have any of those around here.”