Real Renewal

Posted by MJ

A post by Richard Florida (who I at times agree and disagree with) highlights what I think a lot of us feel. Drop the massive "Urban Renewal" schemes and instead focus on giving us the power to direct our own prosperity and growth:

...Needless to say, there aren’t any. The record of schemes to revive cities by assembling and remaking neighborhoods is littered with disastrous unintended consequences. People thrown of out their homes, neighborhoods destroyed, historic structures leveled, and the community fabric of too many once great cities ripped to shreds....
...The most successful efforts of renewing old urban neighborhoods don’t come from top-down reclamation schemes but from organic, bottom-up, community-based efforts to strengthen and build on neighborhood assets. Many of today’s great urban neighborhoods from New York’s Greenwich Village to Boston’s North End to Columbus’s German Village were those where residents successfully blocked top-down renewal schemes.
Instead of handing over neighborhoods or even whole sections of cities to city hall or private developers, we’d be much better off enabling residents to take control of and build on community assets, engaging them in community-based organizations that can spearhead revitalization and build real quality of place...
This is what I, and I believe a lot of others would like to see. A forward thinking plan to engage the residents in rebuilding and directing their own future. Help us by giving us the best chance at a decent return on investment (both direct and indirect) an in the long run we will give back to the city a healthier and larger tax base.

The city lacks a housing/taxation policy to turn around it's slow downward slide. Some risk needs to be taken to turn it around. Home owners will follow by taken bigger risks themselves in reshaping where they live.


North Adam St Bridge

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the N. Adam St bridge will close at the beginning of the canal season with no "repair" date in sight:

...The DOT is concerned about the deteriorating condition of the lift mechanism for the bridge, which underwent $300,000 worth of emergency repairs during a three-month closure in 2000.

On April 28, which Tucker said is expected to be opening day for canal navigation, the bridge will be raised and not lowered again. The DOT’s letter said it is investigating whether the bridge should be repaired or removed.

It could be a long wait for action, he said. The other lift bridge on nearby Exchange Street was closed in 1993 and not reopened until a new $3.1 million span was built in 2000...
Lockport most likely does not have the traffic load in lower town to necessitate two lift bridges so close together. Through they do add to the atmosphere of the canal in that area. I do not look forward to years of construction barriers surrounding a permanently raised bridge.


Police "Fire" Dispatch

Posted by MJ

Both the Buffalo News (briefly) and the LUSJ reported again on the LDP looking for compensation on acquiring the LPD dispatch duties last year:

The police officers’ union has hit the city with a improper practice charge over its failure to compensate members for taking over fire call dispatching duties last year.

The charge, filed by the Hickory Club through the state Public Employment Relations Board, is a device for getting the Common Council to “negotiate impact” on police personnel when Lockport Police Department took over fire-call dispatching duties from the fire department as of May 2010, according to Hickory Club President Todd Chenez.

“The impact is mainly money issues; it’s compensation,” Chenez said. “When you take work load on, there’s an impact. There are liability issues with communications, we have more work that we’re doing. ... (These) things should be negotiated.”..

As posted here in Jan '10 I was suspicious when Eggert said:
“I’m kind of hoping you give it to us. It’s easy. . . . We could do it for no cost.”

So why now the cost?


Ward Meeting

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported:

Two city aldermen have announced ward meetings.

Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr. will host a ward meeting for his 2nd Ward constituents from 9 to 11 a. m. Saturday in the Lockport Public Library, 23 East Ave.Smith said the subject matter will include the 2010 annual reports of the Police, Fire and Building Inspection departments.
Alderman Kenneth M. Genewick will host the 5th Ward meeting at 6:30 p. m. March 31 in City Hall. Discussion of general topics is anticipated.
Get out. Ask your questions.


Tucker Going for Third Term

Posted by MJ

Both the Buffalo News and the LUSJ reported on Mayor Tucker's announcement for his intentions of running for a third term this fall:

Mayor Michael Tucker announced his re-election bid Tuesday.

Tucker, a Republican, will complete his second, four-year term at the end of this year. If elected to a third term, halfway through, he’ll become the longest-serving mayor in the city’s nearly 150-year history.

Tucker said he’ll run for another term on what he considers a record of pushing change for the better.

From its embrace of historic preservation and more vigorous building inspection to the series of moves made, some dramatic, to “reorganize” the workforce for long-term tax savings, he said his administration has been trying to position the city to weather tough times and grow.

“We’ve been through a lot of change and innovation the past eight years. I am not afraid to do things differently,” he said....

I have lived in Lockport since 2003. I have to say the tangible changes have been huge since that time. Lockport looks very different and for the better. A lot of foundation work has been laid though we all know there is a lot to be done. I am still waiting for the plan to future growth. Hopefully the new planning/economic position is a sign it is about to be started.

What do you feel the highs and lows of the past 8 years have been and how do they compare to the 8 before those?

(I realize I am asking for trouble here and I di ddebate posting on this topic. Please save me the work of having to edit comments. Keep things factual "removing streets commissioner position as it will cause etc etc and showed no over all savings, etc" as opposed to personal attacks and heresay. Thank You.)


Davidson Road Project

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that an out of state developer who won the bidding for the old county Davidson Road Facilities.

A Washington state-based real estate developer is eyeing 17 acres along Davison Road for a multi-phase condominium and medical office building project.

Don MacLeod of Tacoma, Wash., spoke to the county Legislature’s administration committee about his aspirations Tuesday night.

MacLeod’s brother, Douglas MacLeod, submitted the high bid for the Davison Road Complex, former site of a county infirmary and Social Services offices, in an online auction several months ago....

...Their thought for the Davison Road complex is to develop condominiums for senior citizens, 55 and older, and “ancillary” medical space, perhaps an urgent care facility in the old infirmary building if it’s preservable, MacLeod said.

“We looked at this property and just fell in love with it,” he said. “We want to make this a community.”...

...MacLeod arrived in the area within the past few days and said he plans to stay here about two weeks to look over the property more thoroughly and meet with county
We discussed the original real estate listing here last September.


Planning Director Announced

Posted by MJ

Both the Buffalo News and the LUSJ recently reported that Mayor Tucker has chosen the Director of Planning and Community Development.

North Tonawanda’s economic development coordinator was announced Wednesday as Lockport’s new director of planning and development.
R. Charles Bell was appointed by Mayor Michael W. Tucker to the new position, part of the city’s restructuring that places most departments under one of four major directors.
Bell, 35, signed a five-year contract that starts his pay at $72,000 a year. The contract says subsequent raises are up to the mayor and, if granted, will be at least 3 percent per year.
The Common Council didn’t get to vote on the appointment or the contract terms, but it did vote, 4-2, to grant Bell a waiver of the city’s residency requirement. Bell lives in Getzville...
...Bell said he applied for the Lockport job because “I think it’s a community with a ton of potential. . . . You’ve already got a strong business community. I’m impressed with the direction city government is taking with the restructuring and making development more of a priority.”...
Best of luck to Bell. One of the benefits of hiring someone local is the way the state works certain grant application. Seniority (and track record) of those on the grant application is taken into account. Bell's experience here is a big plus. Just let's hope that the city (Mayor) makes the most out of this new position in regards to laying out a path to future growth and following it.


Lockport Local Waterfront RP

Posted by MJ

At tonight's council meeting there wil be a comment period on the Lockport Waterfront Revitalization Program. The 192 page document is here. Thank you to the Mayor, Jack and Andy for working on getting it to me. In the big scheme of things any document such as these should be easily available over at eLockport.

The Buffalo News reported on it last week.

The city aims to rezone several areas along the Erie Canal and Eighteen Mile Creek to implement a waterfront plan that has been on hold for several years.
However, in most instances, the rezonings would simply codify the existing uses of the land, Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said.
A public hearing will be held at the Common Council meeting at 6 p. m. Wednesday on a law that would require development in the affected areas to comply with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan....
I have not had a chance to look it over yet and I doubt many of you will prior to tonight. Feel free to give it shot anyways. I do like the effort to enact planning (when done right) into law so that it is consistantly followed.