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Sep. 4—A first of its kind in Western New York, construction for a planned Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute in Buffalo has been granted an award of $1 million in federal funds.
The funding, secured by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) in the 2023 federal budget, combined with $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding allocated through the City of Buffalo, makes the total federal investment in the $22 million project $2 million.
"The Institute provides our community the opportunity to tell their stories, and promote and share our history, heritage, and culture. The funding secured by Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Higgins brings us even closer to that goal," said Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY President Casimiro D. Rodriguez, Sr.
The Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute will feature a museum, performing arts theater, event space, café, media center, learning center, and more. The 37,000-square-foot building is envisioned to be a community gathering place promoting learning and celebrating diverse arts and cultures.
Gillibrand and Higgins noted the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute project will be a great addition to the bustling West Buffalo corridor, which has undergone a transformation thanks to a more than $33 million multi-phase federal infrastructure investment in Niagara Street.
"The Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York is an exceptional organization that works to foster awareness, understanding and appreciation of the Hispanic community," Gillibrand said. "The Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute will help further the Hispanic Heritage Council's mission and provide a welcoming space for the entire community to meet, learn and rejoice. I am excited to see this project enter the construction phase and I am proud to have worked alongside Congressman Higgins to bring this critical funding to Western New York."
Added Higgins, "This is a project years in the making under the visionary leadership of the Hispanic Heritage Council of Western New York.
The Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute will be a unique and dynamic destination. One that embraces history, advances understanding, and provides opportunity. We are thrilled to see this project enter the construction phase and are proud to support this investment in Western New York."
The federal lawmakers also presented the Hispanic Heritage Council with a submission for the new Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute Museum. The special piece, a framed official copy of the law awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Borinqueneers, will serve as a lasting tribute to the service of the U.S. Army's 65th Infantry as well as a reminder of the important role the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY played in advocating for the bill to become law.
Construction on the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute is expected to begin during September's Hispanic Heritage Month and be completed in about 18 months.