BUFFALO, NY - Demolition always seems to be a tricky subject here in Western New York.
But Saturday morning, the heavy equipment was brought out near the Peace Bridge and began work on several abandoned homes on Busti Avenue.
Many community members have been trying to protect the homes, but the Public Bridge Authority says it now has the court paperwork to take them down.
Demolition of the homes has been an issue locked up in the courts for years. The project started in June 2012, but was suspended because of court matters.
According to a federal court ruling issued Friday, a judge found that the PBA did address all environmental concerns regarding demolition and that preservationists failed to show that the homes should stay.
And with this, a restraining order against the PBA was lifted allowing seven homes to be demolished.
The Campaign for Greater Buffalo fought against the demolition of the homes saying they were historic.
The PBA wasted no time and resumed demolition of the homes Saturday morning.
"It's been sitting here in a pretty nasty state with fences up so we want to get the properties down and next week we'll remove all the debris and have it set up so it looks a little better," said Matt Davison, director of communications for the Public Bridge Authority.
The PBA has owned the homes since the 1990s.
Many on the Westside claim that the PBA let the homes become breeding grounds for crime, so they could demolish them and expand the Peace Bridge plaza.
"Why are they derelict? They're derelict because they didn't take care of them, they're derelict because the city didn't care to tell them to take care of them," said Daniel Sack, vice president for the campaign.
Community groups don't want the plaza expanded, believing it would lead to more air problems.
The PBA says that it plans to add green space, like trees and grass where the blighted homes are.
"It's a tough one to have to knock down homes, but we have folks on both sides of the issue, they were dilapidated homes, we bought them, so this is the board policy that we're moving forward with," said Davison.
The green space additions are expected in the spring.
"Unfortunately the Campaign for Greater Buffalo and the citizens of Buffalo lost a truly wonderful asset, these houses are historic, they date from the 19th Century," said Sack.
No plan to actually expand the plaza has been presented by the Bridge Authority at this point.