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Community-based Learning and Engagement in Seneca Nation

storefronts in a downtown area
Downtown Salamanca. photo / George Frantz

Students enrolled in the Land Use, Environmental Planning, and Urban Design Workshop led by Associate Professor George Frantz traveled to Salamanca, New York earlier this semester to examine the town’s main street corridor and environmental conditions of the adjacent Allegheny River. There, they conducted a site and inventory analysis of both locations, followed by a community forum at the local theater on the town’s main street.

At the community forum, students presented their initial findings on the different sites in Salamanca. Students James Warren, Shanee Moodie, and Nathanael Cheng presented their research on the main street corridor, discussing current conditions and opportunities for implementing complete street policies. Students Liz Feight, Hassan Saleem, and Naomi Haber discussed their findings on the Allegheny River and its historical and environmental significance. A communal conversation with the public ensued, providing opportunities to gather more information from the residents on their perspectives of the corridor and the river.

For Frantz, engaging with the city of Salamanca, located within the Allegany Indian Reservation of the Seneca Nation, presented a unique planning initiative for students to participate in. The partnership with the municipality and the Seneca Nation provided a breadth of diverse stakeholder engagement opportunities to unify the larger community. “We’re here to get your knowledge and wisdom to help us go back to Cornell and come up with a good plan for the downtown, for Main Street, for Salamanca, and for the Allegany Territory,” said Frantz.

The community forum led by Frantz and his students was also covered in a Salamanca Press article.

Events described in this post occurred  prior to the suspension of in-class sessions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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