A typical morning on Buffalo’s Peabody Street

News and analysis by Dan Telvock, Investigative Post's environmental reporter

How would you like to wake up at 7 a.m. to the sound of an excavator digging through concrete rubble?

Welcome to Peabody Street in the Seneca Babcock community, where noise is a common occurrence from Battaglia Demolition’s excavators, truck traffic and concrete crushing.

Here’s a short video taken from one resident’s porch:

My report a few weeks ago on the decade-long fight between Seneca Babcock residents and Battaglia Demolition and a follow up blog post sparked a lot of conversation on our site and WGRZ’s Facebook page. The complaints about the business include bad air, heavy truck traffic, noise and health problems. The business is also operating without one, and possibly two, state permits.

Peter Battaglia, the owner, said his business benefits the environment by recycling construction and demolition debris. He doesn’t understand why all the fingers point at his company.

“If I am such a harm to the community in doing so, bring down a check, compensate me for what I have invested and I will leave,” he said.

Anytime I write about a disadvantaged community, whether it is near the Peace Bridge or, in this case, Seneca Babcock, there’s a running theme among some people that goes like this:

Palmer

That comment is followed up with this insight:

Vinson

First of all, not everyone has the economic means to move. But some actually have moved.

For example, a Twitter follower told me he left the neighborhood three years ago because of a “combo of noise, dust and rats.”

“Mostly the disgusting rats. City passed out these black rat trap boxes, didn’t help,” he Tweeted to me.

His grandmother, uncle and aunt remain on Peabody Street.

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Secondly, people have the right to a healthy environment no matter where they live or how much money they make. Check out this comment from a local nurse who treated a resident on Peabody Street:

nurse

Most of the homes on Peabody Street were built in the 1920s-1950s, well before Battaglia opened shop. Many of the residences served as homes for factory workers back in an era when Buffalo was a strong industrial city. Those days are gone.

The residents, many who have lived on the street their entire lives, have had to deal in the past with junkyards and lumber yards on that property.

The city’s Seneca Babcock urban renewal plan calls “to remove substandard and obsolete conditions, and incompatible land uses and dust generators.”

This begs the question: should the city negotiate with Battaglia to purchase his property?

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Should the city negotiate to purchase Battaglia's business?

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