With the revitalization work completed in the village, MPA student Erin Carmina’s master’s project is examining an issue that’s at the heart of the Main Street grant: the financial impact of the improvement program on the Route 62/Main-Buffalo Streets corridor (the area targeted by the revitalization effort).
“Overall, the intention with the grant monies was to bring people back to Main Street in the village. I’ll be looking at whether the rehabilitation and repurposing work has been effective in bringing new life to the village center and if the efforts have strengthened the economic vitality of the neighborhood retail district,” said Carmina.
A native Western New Yorker, Carmina moved back to the area in 2008 after living in Virginia following graduation from SUNY Potsdam where she earned a bachelor’s degree in archaeology and anthropology. Now working as office manager at her father’s architectural firm, Carmina Wood Morris, P.C., studying the improvement project in Hamburg village is opening up many doors for this self-professed “novice” in this type of renewal work.
“Being involved in this master’s project is giving me opportunities to interact and network with many individuals I otherwise wouldn’t have contact with, including government officials, business owners, village residents and other constituents. It’s still hard to believe that I’m involved in such an amazing project and that it’s actually become a reality,” said Carmina, who resides in West Seneca. “In the process, I’m learning a great deal about the village while also fine-tuning skills that will serve me well professionally.”
In some ways, added Carmina, the graduate project has sparked her interest in urbanization movements and renewal beyond the village. “Working in downtown Buffalo,” she said, “I’ve become involved in the 500 Block Association, a group that’s pursuing ways to improve that section of the city. I’m connecting what I’m learning with my work and my role in the community.”
Ultimately, explained Carmina, “results from my master’s project will be presented to the Hamburg village so they have valid, tangible data on the revitalization project, which hopefully will assist them with future planning efforts.
“The MPA program,” she added, “has been outstanding from the start. When I came back to this area, I did a lot of soul-searching about what I wanted to study in graduate school. I wanted to do something more and I’m thrilled to be enrolled in Hilbert’s program. Whatever option I pursue after graduation, I know my degree and this master’s project experience will help me reach my professional goal."