Donn Esmonde wrote for Buffalo News 24 June 2012, Big shots listening to community,
The times, they are a-changin'. The Millard Fillmore-Gates story is further evidence. The days when power brokers decided what was best behind closed boardroom doors, then tried to shove it down the community's throat, are mercifully ending. Break out the champagne.
The fallout from years of stalled projects and misfired magic bullets, and the emergence of more-enlightened power brokers, has adjusted boardroom attitudes. The altered mindset is —from the waterfront, to a reviving downtown, to whatever happens with Millard Fillmore Hospital —paving a path to happier endings, with less drama and fewer hard feelings. I think we could get used to this.
Faced with the eventuality of a massive, empty hospital bordering a prime neighborhood, Kaleida scheduled public forums and called in the cavalry of the renowned Urban Land Institute. What once was unthinkable in corporate boardrooms now is becoming reflexive.
“We learned from other examples that had not gone well…that we needed to involve the community, be transparent and collaborate,” said Kaleida's Ted Walsh. “All of that will help us to reach a better decision.”
The old boys actually listening to the community pays off! Hey, we could try that! Actually, VLCIA maybe has, with its strategic planning process. We shall see.