BUFFALO, N.Y. — Plans for a state-of-the-art cultural center that celebrates the Hispanic community in Western New York has been in the works for the past 11 years.
On Tuesday, the New York State Assembly presented a check of $3.8 million to the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, bringing the capital campaign halfway to its $10 million goal.
Casimiro Rodriguez, along with the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York, has been leading the project since conversations started back in 2013.
"This is something that we had in our hearts," Rodriguez says. "Our vision and our mission is very unique as to what our focus is to promote understanding and awareness of Hispanic Heritage history and culture."
The three-floor, 33,000-square-foot facility will sit on the corner of Niagara and Hudson streets in the Niagara Corridor on Buffalo's West Side. Rodriguez says it will be a sustainable center that incorporates traditional and modern elements that celebrate and accentuate the Hispanic culture.
"Geographically, it sits in a strategic location. Our community lives right there, in the heart of the corridor. You have businesses, Latino businesses in that area, why would we put this anywhere else?" Rodriguez says.
There will be a museum, art gallery, theater, activities hall, learning labs, a media center for television and radio production, and even office space available for rent.
Rodriguez tells 2 On Your Side the intention is to make the institute a home for organizations and groups who are in need of one.
"We need to begin with our own community, we need to begin with those organizations that are bringing beautiful things and beautiful programs within their own visions to the community," Rodriguez said.
Ground is expected to break in 2023, and the center is expected to open in 2024.