Emotional Attachment to a Place

Posted by MJ

As the holiday weekend approaches I thought I'd share a post I came across that hits on the "emotional attachment" to a place that I usually try to allude to when I am discussing the need for updated zoning, planning etc. No one falls in love with and becomes attached to a filled in pothole, a store set behind 2000 sqft of black top etc.

Yes, we need to pave our streets and fix potholes — but there is more to a city than that. My worry in the current economic/political climate is that we will fixate only on these traditional “essentials,” and in doing so undermine the very thing that is keeping many communities going – the love, affection and loyalty that people have for their places. We need to expand our expectation of “essentials” and include that which speaks to our higher selves, and invest at least a little in beauty, fun and engagement. This does not take lots of money — it takes creativity, imagination, and an awareness of its importance.
When I ask people what they love about their cities, the answers always involve small things that often cost little or no money — a comfortable place to people watch, a favorite street corner, a local dog park, a street festival or outdoor movies in the park. These things are like a handwritten note that accompanies the formal gift — the note is just as important as the actual gift, because of the thoughts and emotions conveyed within it. The cost is incidental, but their impact is significant.
This is why I always bring up events like the concert series, free outside movies, issues such as street tree replacement, coding for buildings/site plans we can value, etc. A bare bones budget will not be the tide of change that will see a rebirth for Lockport. Items that make us "fall in love with it" will.

What type of things make you fall in love with or romanticize a certain place? Where are those places?


Razing Lockport

Posted by MJ

5/27/11 Update

Heard that Mayor Tucker is putting together a group to informally look into what opportunities may exist in salvaging any of the building and if not the materials. The idea of storage of the old canal stone was also disscussed as recently as 2 weeks ago with possible ideas for reuse such as the "upper harbor" if it ever came to be.


The Buffalo News reported that Lockport received $200,000 to raze the Kohl Motorcycle building at 71 Gooding St.

In Lockport, 71 Gooding St., the former Kohl Motorcycle building, owned by the city because of unpaid taxes, is targeted for razing....
A large concrete structure next to the Gooding Street site, 2 Clinton St., is still owned by Anna Kohl, widow of Walter Kohl, the former motorcycle mechanic.
“The Kohl family has expressed interest in giving that building to the city,” Lockport Director of Engineering and Public Works Norman
D. Allen said.
It's always painful to hear of the obtaining of money for demolition instead of rehabilitation. It's as if we have not permenently removed enough of Lockport over the past 60 years.

I'm not sure if the roof collapse happened after the city took over but it is a shame that another of the few remaining stone buildings in Lockport is planned to become another lovely overgrown field. Probably does not need to be said but : "They don't build them anymore". Buildings with collapsed roofs have been brought back in Buffalo (see Webb Building as an example) but I doubt the market is there in Lockport for the investment (even with the appropriate historical tax credits etc). It's a shame that programs are not put into place to try to lure in canal side development anywhere in the city. If done, this shell could prove valuable in the future.

If nothing else, I've always thrown around in my head the idea of taking sections of the facade and moving them to buildings on Main St. Could even give City hall a "face-lift".


Private Garbage in August?

Posted by MJ

The Bufalo News reported last week that the change over to provate garbage collection is now delayed until mid-August.

The start of privatized garbage pickup and curbside recycling in the city has been pushed back to mid-August, Mayor Michael W. Tucker said at Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.
Bids from garbage haulers for the service are due Friday, but Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said the bids will be secret until the Council awards a contract.
The bidding is being conducted under an alternative procedure sanctioned by Section 120-w of the state’s General Municipal Law.
That process envisions negotiations with bidders before and after the offers are submitted, rather than the normal sealed-bid process where the low bidder gets the job unless the municipality can prove a problem with its bid.
The bid opening has been delayed at least twice as the three prospective bidders — Modern Disposal, Waste Management and Allied Waste Services — have volleyed questions and issues back and forth with the city....
 If you have not started yet, now is the best time to get rid of all of the crap you have sitting around and in your property. Don't wait until its too late.

I'm hoping the garbage is sent out with the water 4x anually.


Genewick to Run for 2nd Term

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that Generwick has announced running for a second term. Otherwise not too much else to note except that he is not for bigger government ;)


Carbone to Retire

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that Carbone has annouced her plans to retire at an unspecified date.

 If a budget vote and the sports complex wasn’t enough for Lockport City Schools to deal with, there was an announcement made Wednesday night that gives the district another issue to be concerned with.

Superintendent Terry A. Carbone told Board of Education members Wednesday that she will retire in the near future. A date for Carbone’s departure has not been set....
I'm not sure where the "concern" comes in. I wouldn't be surprised if the next 3 superintendents were already lined up in the district. The concern should be if the school district will also seek outside potential canidates to make sure we are getting the best.


2011 Molson Canal Concert Series

Posted by MJ

NOTE: Blogger was giving issues with posting comments in the old thread. This post replaces the old one. Old coments can be found there. Please place any new ones here so they can be seen. Be sure to update any bookmarks.

Front Stage - Summer '10

The time has come to begin the 3rd installment of The Tracker. Here is where we will fill in the line up of the 2011 Molson Canal Concert Series in Lockport NY. This is the 4th year of the series in Lockport and there are to be 9 shows again this summer.

Will Rusted Root and Our Lady Peace open the series for an unprecedented third year? Will people gripe about the line up? Will commenters try to push Journey cover bands for openers? We shall See.

Past years' threads are here:
2010 Series
2009 Series

Artists will be added as they are leaked/found up to the official series announcement date. The date is usually early June but was annouced mid-May last year after the whole line-up was eventually discovered. If anyone finds any information feel free to drop them in the comments below. Recent updates will be shown in red.

All shows are held outdoors at the Ulrich City Center downtown on Main St rain or shine and are free. Visiting Lockport and looking for other things to do? Look here: "Lockport on the Erie Canal"

2011 Molson Concert Series Lineup:
opening bands in "( )"

6/24 - Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies                          
7/01 - Dennis DeYoung of Styx
7/08 - Burton Cummings of the Guess Who
7/15 - John Butler Trio   (with the Ragbirds and One World Tribe)                 
7/22 - The Tea Party (with the Pretty Reckless)
7/29 - Puddle of Mudd (with Rev Theory)
8/05 - B52s
8/12 - Queensryche
8/19 - Grand Funk Railroad with (Bruce Kulnick)

Official series website: http://www.canalconcerts.com/ Any inquiries about being an opening act etc. should be directed there as I am only a Lockport resident with no real ties to the concert promoters.

This post is for discussing the lineup and the artists. Any comments relating to the costs/benefits of the concerts are to be directed to an appropriate post. Any appearing here will be deleted. Don't rain on the parade. Thank you for your cooperation.

Other local series:
ArtPark (Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Thursday in the Square


School Budget Results

Posted by MJ

Both the Buffalo News and LUSJ reported:

The $5.8 million sports complex project appeared to be headed toward defeat Tuesday, but district personnel were still counting votes at press time.

With 4,678 votes cast Tuesday, 2,365 voted against the project and 2,313 voted in favor of it, meaning the project would have been defeated by 52 votes. But there were still just over 100 absentee ballots to count.

District personnel were still counting those absentee ballots at press time with the measure still losing by 9 votes.

But as evenly split as the community was on the sports complex, it was clearly OK with the $79 million budget, selling DeWitt Clinton School to Niagara County Head Start and the other project on the ballot. That is an $18.9 million capital improvement project that will address needs in a number of district buildings.....

The turnout was great. I'm amazed at how close the sports complex vote was and the increased number of voters participating. I believe it would have been great to have though it was not a necessity. With the fund raising effort promised and 93% reimbursement I'd find it hard to pass up. But it seems just less than 50% did.

The bigger issue is looming next year. $2.9 in unfunded (reserves were used) benefit increases in this years budget will need funding next year. That is in addition to any other contracted increases next year. Hopefully the new and existing people on the board will start thinking now on what to do. Big cost structures still need to be changed.


School Board Voting

Posted by MJ


The Buffalo News reported a preview of the Lockport vote. Since it is on the main Lockport page I can't link to it. So it is copied here:

Preview of Lockport School Election
* Candidates (Elect three to three-year terms; elect one to a one-year term): Incumbent Thomas W. Fiegl, incumbent David M. Nemi, Roy Joseph O'Shaughnessy, Anthony P. Molinaro, Regina L. Marker, Paul R. Black and Louisa Smith. * Total budget: $79 million, up 2.6 percent. * Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $24.94 per $1,000, up 4.9 percent. * Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,855 with Basic STAR. * Percentage of budget from property taxes: 43.1 percent. * Percentage of budget from state aid: 49.7 percent.

* Noteworthy: City residents are in the process of undergoing a reassessment of property values, whereby taxes are expected to decrease by $1.55 per $1,000 assessed value. If all things were to remain the same as last year, however, homes with the Basic STAR exemption would see an increase of $176.37 per year.

* Proposition 2: Would allow the sale of DeWitt Clinton Elementary School for $4,500 to Niagara County Head Start, the nonprofit organization the district leased the building to for the current year at the same price. The group provides early education and day care services to children of low-income families. All proceeds from the sale would be deducted from the state building aid the district still receives for the building.

* Proposition 3: Would allow district officials to use $881,520 from its capital reserve fund to complete an infrastructure improvement project for six buildings totaling nearly $19 million. The state would contribute about $18.1 million in the form of building aid. In the event of changes to the state's building aid formula, the district would expend up to an additional $1.9 million from its capital reserve fund to ensure the project would come at no additional cost to taxpayers. Construction work at the six elementary school buildings would include repairs to roofing and concrete, enhancement of lighting systems, the repaving of sidewalks and parking lots, the addition of three new playgrounds and a new and upgraded district-wide data infrastructure.

* Proposition 4: Would allow the use of $211,232 from the capital reserve fund to undertake a capital upgrade of the district's athletic facilities totaling $5.9 million, as long as three conditions are met: voters also must adopt Proposition 3; the State Education Department must approve the capital project; and private outside donations of $750,000 must be raised by June 30, 2012. The state would contribute about $4.9 million in the form of building aid. In the event of changes to the state's building aid formula, the district would expend up to an additional $530,000 to ensure the project would come at no additional cost to taxpayers. The majority of funds would be used to build a multipurpose field complex large enough to house sectional events in sports such as lacrosse and soccer. Improvements also would be made to district tennis courts and football practice fields.

* Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. — 1st Ward, Washington Hunt Elementary, 50 Rogers Ave.; 2nd Ward, Board of Education, 130 Beattie Ave.; 3rd Ward, Anna Merritt Elementary, 389 Green St.; 4th Ward, Charles Upson Elementary, 28 Harding Ave.; 5th Ward, Roy B. Kelley Elementary, 610 E. High St.; all towns, Lockport High School, 250 Lincoln Ave.

Voters will be asked to approve a $79 million spending plan, which stands to raise the tax levy by a true rate of more than 4.5 percent, despite $3.9 million in expenditure cuts.The spending plan cuts the equivalent of 36.5 full-time positions. Roughly $1 million in savings was found with a plan to reorganize the district and convert the two middle school buildings into one that houses fifth and sixth grades and another that houses seventh and eighth. If the plan is not approved, the district will be forced into a contingency budget for the second year in a row and would have to find roughly $566,000 in additional cuts, Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone said. The district has lost more than $8 million in state aid over the past two years. Last year, officials closed two elementary schools and cut 38 positions.

The seven candidates running for three, three-year terms on the nine-member board are:
* Incumbent Thomas W. Fiegl, 68, a retired police captain of 25 years who worked for the Lockport City Police Department for 35 years. If elected, Fiegl will serve his third term.
* Incumbent David M. Nemi, 53, a college business professor at Niagara County Community College for 25 years. If elected, Nemi will serve his third term.
* Roy Joseph O'Shaughnessy, 61, owner of Oak Run Golf Club. If elected, O'Shaughnessy will serve his first term.
* Anthony P. Molinaro, 38, a building trades instructor for Orleans-Niagara BOCES at Niagara West Center for four years. If elected, Molinaro will serve his first term.
* Regina L. Marker, 35, a stay-at-home mom with 11 years teaching experience in the Lyndonville school district. If elected, Marker will serve her first term.
* Paul R. Black, 59, a technical field support worker at Syracuse Supply for 30 years. If elected, Black will serve his first term.
* Luisa Smith, a stay-at-home mom who served as president of the John E. Pound Elementary School Parent Teacher Association for two years.

The fourth highest vote-getter is elected to finish the unexpired term previously held by Allan Jack, who resigned two years ago. Incumbent Marietta Schrader was appointed to Jack's seat for one year at the time, but she is not seeking re-election. Incumbent Margaret Lupo also is not seeking re-election.

LUSJ reported on our loaded ballot.

Voting locations are:

1st Ward:  Washington Hunt
2nd Ward: Board of Education Building
3rd Ward: Anna Merritt
4th Ward: Charles Upson
5th Ward: Roy B Kelly
Towns:     Lockport High School

Voting is from 12pm to 9pm.


LUSJ reported on the canidate session sponsered by The Lockport Council Parents Teachers Association

I'd quote some of it, but nothing jumps out as relevent to making an informed choice. ;)


The Buffalo News reported on the upcoming LSD vote. In addition to the $79M budget and 3 propositions they discussed the school board representative candidates:
...Four of the candidates advertise themselves as of the same mind, and they haven’t been shy about accusing the current board of being complacent and submissive to the wishes of Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone, who they say has been overseeing the district for five years without accomplishing much of anything.
“I sit and listen to [board members] just pass motion after motion after motion, and there’s no questions being asked,” said Regina L. Marker, a stay-at-home mom with 11 years’ teaching experience in the Lyndonville School District. “I feel like the public meetings are a dog-and-pony show.”
Newcomers Paul R. Black, Luisa Smith and Joe O’Shaughnessy agree with Marker and insist they can bring the needed change to the School Board. But incumbents Thomas W. Fiegl and David M. Nemi strongly reject the notion.

“They’re obviously not involved and have no idea what’s going on with the board,” said Nemi, 53, who is running for a third term. “We challenge [them] on everything....”
 Maybe if more of the discussions were open to the public, they would have an idea what's going on with the board?

Feel free to discuss the candidates here. And as always, keep it respectful (pro or con) or risk deletion or the comment in its entirety.


Lockport Sports Complex II

Posted by MJ


Both the LUSJ and The Buffalo News reported on the parking debate for the proposed complex.

Lockport City School District administrators addressed concerns Tuesday afternoon from 4th Ward Alderman Andy Chapman regarding what he saw as a potential parking dilemma at the proposed high school athletics complex.

Residents vote Tuesday on whether the School Board should spend $5.8 million on the construction of a 2,500-capacity artificial turf stadium there as well as the renovation of existing athletic fields. Chapman told Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone via e-mail May 4 that by his calculations, the existing parking availability would leave a void by architectural standards of 875 spaces if a sold-out event were ever held at the complex...
...Once the current $23.5 million capital improvement project is complete at the high school, there would be a total of 393 parking spaces available in the lot. That total would include the bus loop spots on the Locust Street side.

Another 57 spots would be available on Lincoln Avenue and Locust Street, bringing the grand total of parking spaces to 450. District officials said the ratio of people to spots is about 5 to 1, slightly better than the 6.9 to 1 with the Emmet Belknap field. Max Lederer Field has a seating capacity of 1,729 with surrounding parking of 250 spaces between the school and the nearby district office building
Ahh....parking standards. Paving the way so every single person can drive their own car to the same place at the same time. If parking is slightly tight at an event a poweful coping mechanism termed "car pooling" kicks in. Im being a bit sarcastic but honestly it is a valid question. The acceptance of street parking etc was nice to see. When "green space" is supposidly so desireable, I'm always surpriced how eager people are to want to pave everything over.

The vote is tomorrow. Locations are here.


The original post seems to be "locked up" and not posting new comments though they can be seen in the comments RSS feed.

Feel free to continue the conversation here.

UPDATE 02/17/11

The Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on last night's BOE meeting noting the stronger "no revote" presence:
Not every resident in the Lockport City School District wants a multiple-sport athletic complex at the high school like the one the School Board is considering bringing to a referendum vote this year, and they showed up to say it at Wednesday night’s board meeting.
Voters turned down a similar proposition in 2008 by 500 votes, and for some, nothing has changed in three years to warrant a second vote.
“What word don’t you understand?” Dorothy Stockton of Dorchester Road asked the board. “No!”
At last month’s board meeting, more than 200 residents packed the room, and most of those that spoke favored the initiative to build a football field large enough to host sectional and regional competitions for sports like soccer and lacrosse.
Roughly 150 attended this month, and most of those that addressed the board cited fiscal uncertainty in the district, state and nation as their biggest hesitation....

UPDATE 02/15/11

The Buffalo News reported that the LSD has recently received the state required 5yr building condition survey. They are now discussing if some other capitol projects should also be put up to vote (a roof, some windows, etc). While the article hints that they could package it with the sports complex, I doubt they will. The board did not bundle it back in 2008 and if they bundled them this year and it was voted down: any expenses that turn into emergency repairs would run the risk of not being reimbursed. Anyone have access to a PDF of the report? Another example of a public document that should be posted for all to see at the district website.
After the results of a recent building conditions survey, the Lockport School Board is considering the possibility of placing two propositions for capital projects before voters this year.

In addition to building a student athletic complex, which officials estimated two years ago to cost $6 million, the board may ask residents if it can spend another $15 million on repairs and updates that would bring the district’s buildings in line with state Education Department standards...
UPDATE: 02/14/11

The Buffalo News reported on the push for school capitol projects locally. It also reports on current funding formulas and possible upcoming ones. It would be nice to see a state overview in addition to this local one.

While the governor preaches fiscal restraint and responsibility, at least three local school districts will go to voters in the coming weeks and months, seeking multimillion-dollar improvement projects. Several other districts are considering similar proposals.
Some of these projects have been planned for some time, and others are being expedited to get in under the wire, before the state changes its funding for such work....

....For the first time, districts would compete against each other for a chunk of that money, for everything from leaky roofs to football fields with artificial turf. Once the money runs out, no more building projects would get state aid that year....

...Now, as long as local voters approve a building project, the state reimburses a certain proportion, depending on the wealth of the district. Poorer districts such as Niagara Falls get 98 cents back on the dollar; a wealthier district like Orchard Park gets 77 cents on the dollar...


Assessment Feedback

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported  Residential and a Business reactions from people who are receiving larger assessments.

The common refrain?

"....sees it as the penalty to be paid for investing in property rehabilitation/upkeep "
“...feel like we’re being punished for fixing two things,” she said. “If we’d let it go, we would have been left alone.”

Until we have elected leaders willing to take the risk of revamping the zoning code and tax structure, Lockport will continue worrying about the little fish of paving a couple more roads, cutting a few 100k from the budget, etc. All the time the large issues of creating an environment that makes investing not only a rewarding endeavor but one that anyone would be hard pressed to pass up. An enviroment that would make paving roads etc not as difficult of a funding issue.

Last assessment article here.


Lockport Cruise Nights

Posted by LoneWolf

Hey guys  .. its me again :)

Today starts the "Crusin' Season"  in Lockport at Ida Fritz Park..provided by the Lockport Optimists Club


Schedule Taken from  Lockport Cruise website

Cruises happen weather permitting.  from 6pm -9pm (other than the SUPER CRUISES Memorial day and Labor Day weekend they start at 3 or 4 pm.)

Cost : free to attend with or without a car ..

No bikes or animals are allowed in the Crusin' area for safety.

Lawn chairs ARE allowed and suggested.

Music provided by Hank Nevins and the "KB Music Machine"  unless otherwise noted.

Lets get Crusin'  and ring in the summer  with some good music  and good cars  :)




Lockport Cave Open for Tours

Posted by LoneWolf

Hello all ~

Well its that time of year again ...

The Lockport Cave is Open for tours.. 

The Schedule  is attached below....

Taken from  Lockport Cave website.

Come out and join us  for some good Lockport History.

Ticket office is located ( for this year) at Old City Hall. 2 Pine Street  just before the locks .  Our tour  lats  1 hour and 10 minutes.. and our tour route HAS been changed back from last year .. .we can now walk along the towpath past the new and old locks  in downtown Lockport .

We had our first OFFICIAL day of public tours on Saturday and we did tours  every hour, from 12 noon till 4 pm. we had about  200 people  come through on Saturday.

So if anyone gets the chance  and wants to hear some good ol' Lockport History  .. come on down  :) We would be happy to have you join us.


Garbage Update

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the garbage bids are to opened on May 20th.

The final Request for Proposal is at eLockport as are the original documents and addendums that were driven by feedback from the potential sevice providers.


Smith to Run for Mayor

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported today:

Calling for a new leadership style and new priorities for the city, 2nd Ward Alderman Jack L. Smith Jr., a Democrat, announced today he's running for mayor.
At the same time, Smith said he may file a lawsuit that attempts to overturn the Common Council redistricting plan that took away most of his current constituents and placed him in a revised ward with a Republican enrollment edge.
Also today, 4th Ward Alderman Andrew D. Chapman, a Republican, said he's running for alderman at large.
He and Smith, both first-term aldermen, have been together on the losing side of many 4-2 votes, opposing the preferences of Mayor Michael W. Tucker, the Republican incumbent who previously announced he's running for his third term.
Smith said if he becomes mayor, he would emphasize housing code enforcement and infrastructure issues.
Plans to restore the "Flight of Five" 19th century Erie Canal locks would go on the back burner, and the Council would be asked to consider cutting the Friday night concert series...
Also noted was Chapman's desire to run for Alderman at Large.

And as sad as it may be that I need to say it, I expect intelligent conversation here. If you want your comment to stay keep it to topics that pertain. Any juvenile trolling, name calling etc will be deleted as will any responses to it.


2011 Molson Canal Concert Series

Posted by MJ

NOTE: Blogger was giving issues with posting comments in this thread. They appear in the RSS feed but not the post. Sorry for any inconvience. New post started here.


Proposed Zoning Changes

Posted by MJ

Zoning changes are being proposed along the city's waterways (Erie Canal and 18 Mile Creek). The maps (current and proposed) are shown here.

Looking at the maps (especially the city view shown in the insets) show a big possibility for a hiking/biking trail looping along the canal, along 18 Mile creek, thought the wilderness preserve and down the bypass back to the canal. As plots are remedied etc it should be long term item of interest.

I've also envisioned the west side of State St. as ripe for canal side housing as opposed to more "parkland". It is right on the water, walking distance to Main St, and an easy drive out of the city SW on state to the bypass. Keep the west side of the canal for an eventual extension of the canal trail and possible buffering to the industrial areas to the west.

I haven't looked though the actual zoning descriptions in a while, especially the central business area (B2). I'm curious what it allows in regards to mixed uses and primarily any residential aspects.