10/29/2010

Voutour Fear

Posted by MJ

Voutour was kind enough to remind us to be especially careful of sexual preditor strangers on Halloween even though statistics show no difference in sex crimes on Halloween than any other time of year:

...A study published last year examining nine years of crime statistics in 30 states showed no spike in sex crimes against children on or around Halloween.
A group of university professors and a Washington state prosecutor researched the issue in response to the flurry of Halloween-specific restrictions on sex offenders.
Like the "urban myths" warning of tainted candy and razorblades in apples, the authors suggest, the trend toward Halloween policies targeting sex offenders "combats a nonexistent problem."
"Halloween appears to be just another autumn day where rates of sex crimes against children are concerned," they wrote:
Focusing on registered sex offenders, while well-intentioned, might distract police from other more probable threats to children, said Mark Chaffin, a University of Oklahoma professor of pediatrics and the study's lead author.
For example, children ages 5 to 14 are four times more likely to be killed in vehicle-pedestrian crashes on Halloween than on any other day of the year, the authors pointed out...
Some more food for thought:

Gov't statistics show that a vast majority of the offenses are commited by people the victim knows (~95%), that the recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders is less than 5% and that first contact is almost never near places where children congregate (schools, playgrounds, etc).
A 2007 report by the Minnesota Department of Corrections tracked 224 sex offenders released from prison between 1999 and 2002 who committed new sex crimes prior to 2006. The first contact between victim and offender never happened near a school, daycare center or other place where children congregate. The report concluded, “Not one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions law.” The study warned that these laws isolate offenders in rural areas with little social and treatment support, with poor transportation access and with few job opportunities. The resulting increase in homelessness makes them harder to track and supervise. “Rather than lowering sexual recidivism,” the report said, “housing restrictions may work against this goal by fostering conditions that exacerbate sex offenders’ reintegration into society.”
Enjoy your Halloween with your children. Be careful crossing the street. Leave your "scary" imagination for the ghosts.

10/27/2010

Ward Meeting - Nov 6th @ Library

Posted by MJ


Jack Smith will be holding a Ward Meeting on Saturday November 6th from 10 am untill 12 pm in the meeting room. Representatives from Housing Visions will be there so bring all those burning questions and get them answered right from the source.

10/27/2010

2011 Budget Prelim Documents

Posted by MJ

October 10/27/10

Here are the overall revenue and expense documents for previous years and 2011 initial projections, complete with tasty pie charts.



October 10/20/10

Here are some of the preliminary documents distributed to the common council, press, etc.

First up is the comparison of city employee numbers broken down by department in 1980, 1990, and 2009.

1980 - 2009 Lockport Employee Comparison

I'm rather surprised that employment numbers have already been reduced by 30% over the past 30 years. I've heard this before and it is interesting to see where the changes were.

Here are several of the budget request documents filed with the city clerk by each department:

Animial Control Budget Request
Assessor's Office Budget Request
Building Department Budget Request
Civil Service Budget Request
Clerk Budget Request
Community Beautification Budget Request
Community Development Budget Request
Dog Control Office Budget Request
Engineering Building Maintenance Budget Request
Fire Department Budget Request
Highway and Parks Budget Request
Police Department Budget Request
Waste Water Treatment Plant Budget Request

Hopefully these documents can give us some perspective when discussing the 2011 budget.

10/26/2010

Night Terrors

Posted by LoneWolf



Greetings~

Those of you that may have seen the Orange colored flyers last year  .. or maybe seen the "splash" in the LS&J  for haunted yards..

You WILL see these things again this year .. if you haven't already seen them in some area businesses..

Night Terrors IS returning  for antother fright filled Halloween night on Washburn Street ...

We currently have close to 20 actors involved with a combined experince of OVER 20 years doing haunted houses... all of our actors  are voulenteer.. and we enjoy what we do for Halloween..


We are planning on being bigger than last year.


Admission is FREE ..   but donations are welcomed.. they will go to either charity ( Lymphoma society) or to help to build next years haunt .. depending on what comes in.


Attached is the Flyer that you all will see floating around the city at various areas....

Hope to see ya.. If you enjoy Haunted  stuff.

~Jeff

-UPDATE: 10/26/10
To the top - originally posted 9/9/10

10/22/2010

City Holloween Events

Posted by MJ


The LUSJ reported on Holloween events for the upcoming week:

• Pumpkin decorating contest: 405 pumpkins were delivered, one to each third-grade student in Lockport City schools, earlier this week for decorating. Today they’re being taken to 24 businesses that will display them and accept people’s votes for “best decorated.”...
• Downtown trick-or-treating: Main Street Inc. is joining forces with the city Youth and Recreation Department to throw a Halloween bash for kids in the City Hall parking lot from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 29. Pizza will be served and goody bags handed out to all party-goers; games will be organized; costumes are encouraged...
• Halloween decorating contest: Co-sponsored by the US&J, this one’s open to all home and business owners in the city and the town...
• Also downtown: Tours of the Haunted Palace will be ongoing Oct. 27 through 29; tours of the Lockport Haunted Caves are ongoing through Oct. 30. For wee ones who don’t like to be scared, Lockport Family YMCA’s “Happy House” will be open Oct. 27 through 30...

• Shredd & Ragan’s “10-town tour” Thursday afternoon at the Palace Theater.

10/22/2010

Sweet Sixteen Cafe

Posted by MJ

9/22/10
I noticed the sign in the window for Sweet Sixteen Cafe at 16 W. Main St between Chet's and Grimble's. Ellen noticed me peering through the window and was nice enough to let me inside and fill me in on what was going on. Opening in one week will be an updated cafe with "home made" baked goods and hot beverages. The type of place that Lockport is sorely missing. I look forward to the short walk there and the possibility of sitting out back along the canal next summer.

UPDATE 10-10-22 - Grand Opening Tonight.

Buffalo News Article
LUSJ Article

10/20/2010

New Study on Locks

Posted by MJ


The Buffalo News reported on a new study pertaining to the full restoration of the northern Flight of Five.
Restoring the 19th century Erie Canal locks to working order would bring in enough tourists to make an annual $17 million economic impact on Niagara County, a new study says.
The study by Camoin Associates of Saratoga Springs was commissioned in hopes its results could be used to convince someone to give the City of Lockport the roughly $7 million needed for the restoration of the Flight of Five, as the original stairstep set of five locks are called.
One key target audience is the New York Power Authority. Its president and chief executive officer, Richard M. Kessel, toured the locks May 20 and was asked for $6 million by Mayor Michael W. Tucker.
Kessel said Friday he hadn’t seen the Camoin study yet, but he said, “I think it’s a great project. It is certainly under serious consideration as part of a Niagara County package we’re putting together.”...
The numbers are substantial even if assumed to be only half. A 19th century engineering marvel is worthy of full stewardship. Seeing that it is located right in the middle of our city opens even more opportunity to create a special place for not just the visitors, but those of us who actually live here. We need a plan so their inertia can feed off each other in our aim to create somehwere special to live and visit. The infrastructure is here.

It's always a pleasent surprise seeing all the different license plates parked on the Pine St bridge during the summer.

10/19/2010

NCCC gets the Rainbow Mall

Posted by MJ

It looks like NCCC Culinary Institute will be at the Old Rainbow Mall as Cordish has so graciously given up his long term lease. I wish them the best as that concrete bunker is formidable but the redo of Falls St. is quite beautiful and should be a good foundation to build off of.  I'm also a little amused to the whole over reaction to the donation of the mall lease by Cordish. It's been vacant for a decade though I guess he is losing the tax write off and that is worth something.

"Cordish has offered to “donate” Rainbow Square’s lease on the city-owned mall “in an effort to see this proposed culinary institute project move forward,” said Corporation Counsel Craig H. Johnson."

As for Canal St here in Lockport, are the other three parties still interested? Will we see them move forward now that the door is open on the opportunity?

And can we please secure ourself as the epicenter of the wine loop? If the "Niagara Wine Trail" sign at the Niagara Falls Blvd exit on the 290 is not offensive enough, having a signature store in the Falls will surely up it.

10/19/2010

Council Agenda 10-20-10

Posted by MJ

This week's council agenda is posted over at eLockport:



10/15/2010

This Decrepit Victorian

Posted by MJ

I came across this interesting blog about an old victorian renovation down in Richmond, Virginia.


First interesting thought is that even farther down south cities have been hit by the same disinvestment as those up here in the north east although our "grass is greener" mentality tends to hide that at times.
 
It spans from 2003 until present and follows a path that one would follow (or has followed) in rejuvinating an old house from a former double back into a single in a not-so-nice neighborhood. A process that many here would like to see happen more around Lockport.
 
It highlights the:
Joy of discovering old walled in features
The unjoyful finding out of structural issues in the walls
removing that addtional wall separating the stairway
crime nearby
contractors that "don't work in that part of town"
Nearby blight
Removing those old asphalt siding shingles
Good and bad infill
Rehabilitation Tax Credits
etc
 
Although scary at first and a pain in the ass when doing it, an old house offers the opprtunity to live in a place while redoing it one section at a time as money permits. It is a wonderful feeling to walk through a room knowing that you did the work and are making a place better than you found it.
 
What incentives do we need to make more of these happen (Residential PILOTs?) and how do we help people accomplish the work (Building Dept classes/cheat sheets?)?

10/11/2010

DT Hours

Posted by MJ

Buffalo News reported that Lockport Main Street is in process of organizing Halloween and Christmas promotional plans for downtown businesses. All the promotion events so far have been a nice addition to DT. Hopefully the business community is seeing some type of return on it.

I feel the biggest promotional plan (and toughest to develop) for DT businesses would be some basic set evening business hours. Even today the stereotype of "nothing is open downtown" is still reinforced. I know personally that if I want to do something after dinner my gut choice is head to the town (or farther) where almost any store/eatery located in a plaza, etc will be open until at least 9pm. Going for a walk down Main St from time to time confirms the opposite for DT.

I realize that there is a cost difficulty in the extra staffing but there should also be some difficulty in not being open in the evening when people who work all day are looking to spend their money. I've heard accounts places that have stayed open later on certain nights only to find no additional benefits. One could see it as proof that it doesn't work. I see it as proof that it doesn't work without a group effort and established times making it worth taking the chance (drive).

There needs to be a feeling of "Lockport is open" if we want people to be comfortable venturing DT and finding businesses open when they get there. Be it by car or walking from the nearby neighborhoods that we look to turn around.

10/08/2010

The Plan?

Posted by MJ

To follow up on an earlier post, another quote. This one from the Detroit News:

...There’s a lesson here, as much for local and state politicians as for business leaders facing difficult circumstances and a problematic future: Success depends on the courage of leaders to acknowledge failure, sometimes decades of it, and then chart a credible path away from it — wherever it leads.

This is also somewhat relevant to the current Housing Visions debate. Where is the plan as we continue to drift forward? Where would Housing Visions fit in? Our last "Master Plan" was done in 1998 and never ennacted officially. It appears to have partially shaped the Main St rebuild and parts of UCC (or was it just luck?) but beyond that?

We tread with no vision to inspire and follow. No official path of what we want to become to inspire others to join in. It's budget season. Let's hope when its over we can start moving forward on laying out our future.

10/07/2010

Housing Visions $ Figures

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that at last night's council meeting the PILOT was approved for the Housing Visions Lockport Canal Homes project.

The Lockport Canal Homes housing development will be property-tax exempt for 20 years, according to an agreement approved by the Common Council on Wednesday.



The not-for-profit developer, Syracuse-based Housing Visions, plans to renovate or rebuild houses on 11 lots along Genesee, Locust and Pine streets, if financing for the $9 million product can be lined up.


The agency sought tax-exempt status for the properties to strengthen its application for a homeless housing assistance grant; other grants and funding sources are being pursued now as well, said Housing Visions’ director of development, Ben Lockwood.


According to the agreement, the agency will make annual payments to the city in lieu of taxes, either 5 percent of gross rents collected or $9,000 per year, whichever is more......
People were pining for the numbers "behind the scenes" and I thankfully have them:

LCH Development Budget

LCH Operating Budget

LCH Tax Analysis

Jack Smith has a tentatvie ward meeting lined up for Saturday Nov 6th at the Public Library from 10am to 12pm. HV has been invited to this meeting and confirmation is being awaited. Chew over the numbers and bring your questions.

UPDATE: 10-08-10
Buffalo News Article

Old posts on current HV plan:
HV Before Zoning Board Tonight
Housing Visions Rd 2

10/05/2010

Council Agenda 10-06-10

Posted by MJ

This week's council agenda is posted over at eLockport.