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More About the Valey
The Valley Community Association: Community Anchor
It was back in 1971 with support from then Councilman Dan Higgins (father of Congressman Brian Higgins) that the Valley Community Association celebrated its first major victory. The cornerstone was laid for the Fr. Hugh Carmichael Center and the doors were open to kids and seniors to provide constructive leisure activities.
As periodic needs assessments and demographic studies were conducted, the Valley Community Association modified and added new programs and services to better serve the needs of the community. New programs added over the years have included food pantry, employment assistance, senior transportation, child care, tutoring and computer technology.
With not enough space to accommodate the growing number of participants, in 1988 an addition was built with the help of then Mayor Griffin which is used by senior citizens and youth.
In 1998, after the VCA identified a need for full day licensed child care, a 7000 square foot addition was built on the rear of the center. In 2004, with the support of CityView Properties, the VCA opened a second child care center at Larkin at Exchange.
This year VCA will have the grand opening of the portable classrooms that were moved from an abandoned school on Buffalo’s East Side with the help of many including community volunteers, local labor unions and local corporations. Jim Radwan, a VCA board member, provided architectural drawings and was the oversight for the move and reassembly. These classrooms will increase our licensed space and accept children on the waiting list of the very successful Striving for Excellence Afterschool Program.
Adjacent to Buffalo River and located behind the Valley Community Center on Leddy Street is the Valley Nature Park and Habitat Trail which was built through a Federal Urban Resources Partnership Grant and matches from the Operating Engineers and other partners including Custom Topsoil. Much of the success of the after school program is our ability to utilize this park and our collaboration with Science First Hand and Nature Ed-Venture to make learning interactive and fun.
On the horizon is a new home for the Buffalo River Fest which will be held at a 2.5 acre public access park on the Buffalo River on Ohio Street. Assemblyman Mark Schroeder has been key in making this project move forward providing funding and guidance as we steer thru a maze of funding sources. Grants have been secured from the Margaret Wendt Foundation, NYS Canal Corporation, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, NYS Department of State and NYS Dormitory Authority. The park will be a venue for festivals with an amphitheater, trails, gardens, a boardwalk, picnic pavilions and a concession building.
VCA is always on the move providing what is best for the community whether it be socialization and a nurturing environment for seniors or quality, safe, learning space for youth and children. VCA gives support for families in need and works to revitalize the community with urban green spaces and parks.
Contributed by Peg Overdorf
Originally published in the 2008-2009 Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce Business Directory & Community Guide