Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 21, 2014

HAMILTON: Make black history, instead of just skipping it

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — One of the largest of such projects was the massive and partially completed, near $80-million, Niagara Falls Housing Authority/Norstar Development Company’s HOPE-VI/Center Court project; which by observation and community complaints, hired relatively few community members.

Additionally, many, if not most of the minorities who were hired on that project were Spanish-speaking only, and clearly not community members.

In other words, this individual went to city council and suggested that they take oversight of the board upon which he now sits to make sure that they comply with their own either stated or feigned desire to hire members of their own community. How would the city do that, and why would he suggest that it is the city’s responsibility to make them do such?

In fact, Norstar has built another housing project in that same neighborhood, whereas the minority hiring was in question – this, at the same time that they were working with the NFHA board as an LLP partner on the Center Court project.

Norstar is currently redeveloping a third project in the same neighborhood on one of the iterations of the Unity Park project. Is it these projects of which the speaker spoke, projects that its own partner is doing

Or is it the multimillion dollar Moore Business Forms/Honeywell reclamation project that Ontario Specialty Contracting Group is doing on Highland and Beech avenues; or the clinic project that the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is sponsoring on Highland and Center avenues — all projects that have NFHA DNA all over it?

There are two huge reasons why there is low community hiring in the place where this board member’s organization concentrates its new developments.

One is because of the poor quality of education and training that our board of education produces and then blames its shortcomings upon handicapped black kids; and two, because people who do have a great education tend to move from such communities where public housing projects proliferate.

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