Quentin Littleton says he's seen this before.
“Politicians promise a lot of things that don’t materialize for minority-owned companies,” says the general contractor from Buffalo's East Side.
Littleton was at the Delavan-Grider Community Center today to see if there was some work for him in a huge project just blocks away.
It's called the Northland Corridor Project. Some $60-million dollars, most of it from state government, will transform 35-acres of old and vacant industrial property. The cornerstone will be a large job training center. All of it in the heart of the beleaguered East Side, which is largely African-American and where poverty took root decades ago.
Mayor Byron Brown today pledged a compliance team already in place, "to really maximize the participation of minority and women-owned businesses and city residents in this development."
That's the part that's familiar to Littleton, the promises of jobs and opportunties for East Side residents.
“All these millions of dollars that flow through our community has not provided one Black contractor the opportunity for prosperity and that’s ridiculous,” says Littleton.
He points to boom Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus downtown and the sprawling RiverBend project as examples of development projects which should have benefited minority and women-owned businesses much more than they have.
Littleton is not alone with doubts that somehow the Northland Corridor Project will be different.
Masten District Council Member Ulysees Wingo says, “The skepticism is legitimate. It is legitimate because the people who have been living here have held down the East Side from its hay-day to it’s very, very, very low decline.”
But Wingo says the Northland project is real, in their neighborhood and people should not dismiss it.
Littleton is not buying that change has arrived.
"Not in my lifetime but we keep trying."