Earlier this week, Fillmore district Councilman David Franczyk appeared in city housing court to support the demolition of a property that preservationists in the Broadway Fillmore neighborhood say is key to keeping the community’s history and architectural character intact.
His opposition comes at the same time that Franczyk has dropped deceptive quotes in The Buffalo News and Buffalo Rising that strongly imply that he shares preservationist views.
Neighborhood residents were accompanied by some of the city’s most respected preservation activists, including Terrence Robinson. They advocated for preserving the stately residential structure on Fillmore Avenue, only a block from he Broadway Fillmore intersection that had represented the heart of the Polish American community for generations.
The home sits on the same street where Franczyk alleges to live. But the councilman’s home is vacant most of the time; neighbors don’t see him at the house and wonder where he is regularly domiciled.
Franczyk was first elected to the Council in 1988 and has been a fierce opponent of preservation. During his tenure, he is responsible for pushing the demolition of hundreds of east side homes, which exacerbated the decline and disinvestment of a once proud neighborhood.
“You should’ve seen Franczyk yesterday at housing court. He said he is one of the biggest preservationists in the city, but he can’t say what he preserved in his own district,” says Katrinna Martin, the Democratic Party official and community organizer. “Isn’t the historical Central Train Terminal in his district on Memorial Drive?”
When at the court, Franczyk said that the writer Ron Fleming — a previous owner of the once stately home — didn’t contribute to the community, and he said it’s Fleming’s fault that the property at 806 Fillmore is in bad condition. Fleming was a writer and one of the most respected columnists in the black community.
“The catch 22 is that Ron Fleming is not on this earth anymore, and I think it’s pretty raw to dog the man’s legacy, especially when he’s not here to defend himself,” said Martin.