The project, now halfway to its $10 million funding goal, will showcase the contributions of Hispanics in Western New York with a targeted opening date in 2024

BUFFALO – Today, Sept. 21, 2021, Assemblymember Jon D. Rivera was joined at the corner of Niagara and Hudson streets by NYS Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila (District 53), several other elected officials, as well as Project Chairman Casimiro Rodriguez and other community leaders, to announce $3.8 million in legislative funding for the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute of WNY project.

The center, which is set to break ground in 2023 and open in 2024, will be the first of its kind in the region when it opens its doors at the corner of Niagara and Hudson streets on Buffalo’s West Side.

The building will encompass approximately 33,000 square feet and will include three floors. Interior spaces will include a museum, art gallery, café, gift shop, performing arts theater, activities space, broadcast media center, as well as learning labs and administrative spaces. The third floor will be allocated for tenant-leased space as means of generating revenue to support economic sustainability.

Through its museum and spaces for programming and education, the new facility will fulfill long-neglected needs within Buffalo’s Hispanic community and will provide the city’s Hispanic population with a much-needed place for conversation and cultural enrichment.

The Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY initially unveiled plans for the project in 2019, though the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic a year later caused a cessation of most fundraising activity. Project officials had raised just over $1 million before the pandemic struck.

With today’s announcement of $3.8 million in funding, it brings the total amount raised so far to $5 million — halfway to the project’s overall funding goal of $10 million.

During 2020 while the pandemic sidelined initial blueprints, project officials were able to conduct environmental studies, form a business plan and work on site control. They are also now in the process of conducting a net-zero energy efficiency analysis on the project.

Today’s announcement of critical funding committed by the NYS Assembly to the project arrives at an appropriate time, as National Hispanic Heritage Month continues through Oct. 15.

New data from the 2020 United States Census shows that Hispanics accounted for about half of the country’s growth over the past decade, up by about 23 percent, and that about 98 percent of Americans live in a county with an increasing number of Hispanics.

Whether their ancestors have been here for generations or they’re among the newest members of the American family, Hispanic immigrants represent many countries and cultures, each adding their own unique perspective to our country’s story.

When the Hispanic Heritage Cultural Institute of WNY is complete and ready to open its doors, it will epitomize the resiliency and determination of the Hispanic population, and will help to provide a permanent, flexible space to educate future generations on the importance of cultural diversity and of the multiplicity from which the nation draws its strength.