Bob and Mary Kresse have long been models of civic involvement, and not just for Western New York. Any city anywhere would count itself fortunate to have two such kind and committed leaders. When Bob Kresse died on November 30, he left behind a legacy of accomplishments too lengthy to enumerate. Here are just three:
King Urban Life Center and Charter School (formerly St. Mary of Sorrows Church): This structure was not only saved from the wrecking ball, it houses Buffalo’s first charter school.
Babeville/Asbury Church: This was another structure in danger of demolition, but with the help of Kresse’s Wendt Foundation, it was rehabbed and redeveloped to become a vibrant center of the local arts scene.
Genesee Gateway: This decaying row of commercial strutures in Genesee Street’s 100 block had been given up by most. The Wendt Foundation was instrumental in saving the structures to create a diverse commercial complex.
The pattern is clear. When others gave up, Bob Kresse stepped in. Though he had support from similarly minded preservation activists, he led the way. He is sorely missed.