Car Wash Approved in Town

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News Reported:

A new car wash will be constructed on South Transit Road after approval of a variance by the town Zoning Board of Appeals last week. The site at 6719 S. Transit Road, owned by Craig Heidemann, is just north of Bartz Road. The Zoning Board of Appeals passed a variance from the rules for front and rear setbacks from the property lines

Why do I bring it up? Because I've always hoped for a full service Delta Sonic to find its way to Lockport. It is a local WNY business that would fit nicely in the Lockport area.


Refuse Savings on Track

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News Reported:

The city has saved an estimated $380,000 on its garbage and recycling program in the 8½ months since privatization, City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri told the Common Council this week.

Dawn M. Timm, Niagara County's environmental coordinator, calculated the number based on the trash pickups since mid-October and comparison figures for October 2010 through June 2011, when city crews still were doing the work.

Modern Disposal took over last fall, and the city established a user fee for the program, including standardized garbage and recycling totes.

Timm said Tuesday that the city has recycled about 1,400 tons of waste since privatization, versus only 354 tons in the city-run period, when only newspaper and cardboard were collected at curbside....
A good job by those who put it together or by those using it. I believe the fees are generated yearly based on cost. The more the recycled should lead to lower rates as time goes on.


LSD Closes Hunt

Posted by MJ

A couple years after closing Dewitt and reducing Pound to just Pre-K, the Lockport School District has decided to close Hunt. The LUSJ reported:

...Board members said they did not make the decision lightly.
”I’m not going to sit here and pretend I can say something that will make this any easier,” said President John Linderman. “It’s not an easy decision for this board to come to.”

”It’s with a heavy heart I voted,” said Trustee James Gugliuzza, a Hunt alum.
Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said the district will move forward, deciding whether to sell or lease the building. The roughly 250 kids who attend Hunt will be transferred by the fall of 2013, not including the ones who will move up to fifth grade at Emmet Belknap Intermediate...
A big plus for the City of Lockport was its neighborhood elementary schools. It was rare to find a municipality that still offered the benefits of these  neighborhood bonds and the ability to walk a short distance to school instead of living on a bus.
...A parent of two at Washington Hunt, including a son who will enter his fifth school in seven years, Michael Foster said losing a school like Hunt could have adverse effects on the community. Parental involvement in their children’s education could be reduced and stability of the community threatened

Foster told board members about his decision to move to Livingston Place within the Washington Hunt community. He told board members to be sure about their decision to close the school....
It would have been nice to see city leaders more involved or taking a stand in the last two rounds of closures. Losing these 3 neighborhood anchors for 2-3% savings in the school budget (what did salaries and benefits rise the past 3 years?) seems a short sighted decision in regards to the well being of the city and school district.

Work on a classroom addition at Kelley is expected to begin in the fall. The addition was a part of an $18.9 million capital project approved by voters last year. Some residents said had they known it would lead to the closure of Hunt, they probably would have voted differently.
Keep churning the spoon fed calves out of the bigger and bigger factories. 


UCC Sold

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and LUSJ  reported:

For the second time in seven months, a tentative sale of Ulrich City Centre has been announced.
This time, the buyer is supposed to be Siesta Development, a newly formed Buffalo company whose principal is Darrel R. Lloyd, an appraiser at KLW Group in Amherst.
The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency on Wednesday approved the transfer of the property tax break on the commercial complex from Ulrich Development Corp. to Siesta.
Owner David L. Ulrich said the sale hasn’t closed yet.
In November, the IDA board approved the transfer of the tax break to Timothy R. Gelder, vice president and chief financial officer of Barden & Robeson Corp., Middleport. However, that deal fell through.
“The buyer wasn’t able to obtain financing,” Ulrich said Wednesday.
He declined to discuss the sale price, calling it “very modest.” However, Siesta’s application says the company intends to obtain a $2.8 million mortgage while investing $600,000 in equity — a total of $3.4 million...
Some people have mentioned that they have some concerns with the person who tax assessed the property at $2.2 million buying the property for $2.8. Is the concern that he received priority in the sale for giving a lower assessment to the previous owner Ulrich?

We are all free to sell our properties for more than they are assessed at. Tax assessments are educated guesses and the real value in most cases is revealed in a sale.(obviously not the case if my mother sold me her house for $1).

The city did not lose out on any money since the assessments just relatively divvy up the approved budget for the year. You and I just may have paid a couple $$$ more.

I've written about assessments in the past. Their punitive nature is a big hold up to reinvestment in the city. We should be rewarded for improving our properties, not for letting them die a slow death infecting the houses around them.


Washburn Street "Bricks" are coming down

Posted by LoneWolf

Seeing as tho it was mentioned in the Concert Thread that all it seems is that the concerts are the "Best news in Lockport"    I figured I would share this as a change of pace ..

 As of this morning "The Bricks"  on Washburn Street are being torn down .. FINALLY .. its only been .. HOW LONG  since the fire and the condemnation of the building? 
(Pic attached of the tear down.)

 Not 100% sure if they are taking BOTH buildings down ,  or if a rebuild is planned. However the buildings DO have the fencing and a "Asbestos warning" sign around the entire (99%)  of the perimiter.

In the pic you cant see it BUT they do have a fire hose running across the street from the hydrant going to where they are working.. there are also workers dressed in white Tyvek suits  and with respirators on ..

Just another piece of "blight"  that is being removed from Lockport.


2012 Molson Canal Concert Series

Posted by MJ

***Blogger has reach the 200 comment "unofficial limit" in the first post. Please continue the conversation here.***

Front Stage - Summer '10

I have had some contact about where The Tracker is this year. I am quite preoccupied but here is the 4th installment. We will fill in the line up of the 2012 Molson Canal Concert Series in Lockport NY. This is the 5th year of the series in Lockport and there are to be 9 shows again this summer as the city works it way to a new 3 year contract.

New this year is Artpark charging for their Tuesday Series since it had grown to crowded. Will Lockport see more concert goers because of this?

Past years' threads are here:
2011 Series
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 announced 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. I have been a little busy to dig deep. 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"

2012 Molson Concert Series Lineup:
(Official 5/14/12)
6/29 - Gov't Mule              
7/06 - Eddie Money
7/13 - Rik Emmett
7/20 - Big Wreck   
7/27 - Theory of a Deadman
8/03 - 54 40
8/10 - George Thorogood and the Destroyers
8/17 - Kenny Wayne Sheppard
8/24 - Tea Party

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.


LSD Cost Per Student

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News has a nice interactive of Erie and Niagara County school districts' cost per student for the upcoming year.

Lockport is relatively "good" when compared to other districts, especially urban ones in Erie County. A big point to note is that costs have gone up 20% in the last 5 years while inflation has only gone up 7, almost a 3x difference.

The Buffalo News reported a large special section will be in this Sunday's edition.
On Sunday, we'll be running a special section, "Your Schools, Your Vote," providing the most extensive coverage in Western New York related to the suburban school budget votes and school board elections on Tuesday.
We'll give you detailed information about the proposed budget for every district in Erie and Niagara counties; information about candidates in contested board races; and graphics that will enable you to compare taxes, enrollment changes and spending changes in your district to others in the region.


2012 Molson Canal Concert Series

Posted by MJ

Front Stage - Summer '10

Comments have froze here due to an unofficial Blogger bug. Please continue the conversation in the new thread:


Phased Flight of Five

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that the Flight of Five Project to restore the north set of canal locks to period operation, has been granted the ability to restore them in phases instead of all at once.

The city is close to securing the state’s permission to restore two in the Flight of Five series of canal locks.

Pending final signoffs by the state Canal Corp. and Department of Transportation, the city will use the remainder of an old federal “earmark” to put Locks 68 and 69 back in working order, David Kinyon, chairman of the volunteer-staffed Lockport Locks Heritage District Committee, said this week.

It’ll happen because the city finally has gained access to $1.7 million, the balance of a federal transportation award obtained for Flight restoration in 2005, by then-U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds.

Though the money was committed, it sat unspent for years because the city was prohibited from using it until it had pledges in hand to fund a total restoration project...
 A huge score for the project and one that makes a lot of sense. One the wonders of 19th century engineering sits in the middle of our city and we should be good stewards. It is about time we catch up with other projects through out the state restoring long abandoned aqueducts, etc. A lot of those projects are in outlaying areas. Having ours in the middle of DT provides another piece of the puzzle for making a unique interesting vibrant place to live, work and visit.

Who will store the mule?


160 East Ave.

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported on the progress over at 160 East Ave (Next to LUSJ itself.)

While the improvement is huge for the previously vacant building, the result of the street facade is lacking.

The project passed before the planning board last year. My only comment during the session was the the East Ave frontage designed to look like the back or side of a building. The use of the rear as the main entrance is easily understood since the parking is (thankfully) at the rear of the building.

Just because the front of the building is not main entrance (or even an entrance at all) should not preclude that the front facade of a structure interact visually with the street. The lack of any law based design guidelines in the city create situations like this where by time you get to comment on the project all you can do it suggest something. Something which will most likely be ignored since it is not the law to do so and the project has long been designed.

A simple porch structure, even if non-functional would easily tied the building into the street instead of "ignoring" it.

Kind of related to this project, and the languishing parking ramp project, is this parking ramp design from Miami University in Ohio.

If a parking structure can interact with its frontage, why can't a medical building? And if the parking ramp ever gets replaced, a design such as this would fit nicely along Pine and Main.


Artpark to Charge

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that Artpark will start charging admission for its Tuesday concerts (with reduced parking charges) while the Wednesday concerts will remain free (but with the current higher parking charges).

Free concerts at Artpark played a key role in transforming Lewiston from a sleepy village to a bustling regional tourism destination.

But as the bands came, so did the crowds -- so much so that this year, Artpark's popular Tuesday in the Park concerts will, for the first time, require an admission fee. Proceeds from the tickets, which will range from $5 to $25, will be used largely to control crowds.
"The crowds here for really big concerts have been kind of overwhelming," Artpark President George Osborne said Tuesday. "It's just grown to be so big, and we really couldn't find a way to control all the people until this project."
The new Tuesday admission charges -- along with reduced parking fees -- were outlined as Artpark announced plans for a $4 million overhaul of its facilities. The upgrade will include a new elevated stage, fences and ticketed entrances...


City Rejects Radio Tower

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the city has rejected a new county radio tower in Outwater Park.

Niagara County is looking for places to install new emergency radio towers, but the City of Lockport last week rejected a county request to build one in Outwater Park.

The Common Council and Mayor Michael W. Tucker decided at last week’s meeting that they didn’t want a 180-foot radio antenna to be installed next to the Outwater Park water tower, as the county had proposed.
The tower would have been surrounded by a 51-by-41-foot enclosure. “I just didn’t think Outwater Park was an appropriate place,” Tucker said. He called the proposed tower “not very pretty.”...
...“They’re waiting on some final numbers there,” Tucker said. “Outwater Park is not going to happen. We still want to work with them. We still have some options. They could still put their antennas on top of the Spires.”
That’s a nine-story housing complex at Church and Ontario streets, owned by the Lockport Housing Authority....
I can see the reasoning for not wanting to put it in a park. But seeing the monstrous water tower is already there why not just put it on top of the water tower, especially if they are mentioning putting it on top of  The Spires as an option? Outwater has been hurting for a long time. In exchange for the radio tower on top of the water tower request park improvements like new trees etc.


School Vote Locations

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that the polling locations for this year's school budget will not change. They are still trying to consolidate in the long term to one location (the high school). It goes to say that doing so will only save $600-$700 dollars. But....

...District officials have cited safety concerns at the schools used as voting sites as the main reason behind reducing the number of them to two...
What are the safety concerns? What documented events in last 100+ years of voting in Lockport school buildings show them to be reasonable to occur and thus necessary to prevent?

Out in industry a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is used at times. In short you rate chance of occurrence, effects that would result and chances of detecting it. Multiply the three to rank the priority. Something can happen often and be hard to detect but have little effect. Something else can have a disastrous effect but rarely ever happen and/or be easily detected. What "events" are the school district trying to avoid here by making it more of a PIA to vote?


Library Vote April 4th

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that the library budget vote is coming up:

Voting on the Lockport Public Library’s 2012-13 budget will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 4 in the community meeting room of the library.

Registered voters of the Lockport City School District are eligible to vote on the proposed $1.5 million budget. The spending plan will need $1.3 million from the tax levy, a $32,127 increase.

The library trustees will hold a public meeting on the budget at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the library’s community meeting room. The trustees and the library director, Beverly Federspiel, will present the proposed budget and answer questions from the public...

The summary flier PDF is here.


Concert Contract

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported on Tucker proposing a 3-yr contract for the Molson Concert Series.

Mayor Michael Tucker is advocating a three-year agreement between the city and Canal Concerts Inc. to ensure the summertime series stays put here.

The series of Friday night concerts at Ulrich City Centre, held over nine weeks between June and August every year, has been in Lockport since 2008. The agreement between the city and Canal Concerts Inc., specifying each party’s obligations related to carrying out the shows, has been year-to-year from the beginning....
I recalled it being an initial 3-yr agreement followed by one year renewals up to this point. The article does a good job at laying our costs and responsibilities of each party (city/promoter)

...As it has all along, the city pays the costs of professional stage rental and assigns several police officers and a paramedic crew to the venue on concert nights. The arrangement cost the city about $124,000 in 2011...
...The proposed contract covers the 2012, 2013 and 2014 series seasons.

For the duration, it has the city agreeing to: pick up and dispose of all garbage collected at the venue; help get the series included in area advertising of cultural, art and summer events; provide street barricades and “no parking” signs where needed for crowd management; pay for stage rental for nine shows per season, at total cost of $79,200 per season; waive city permit fees and licensing normally required of vendors; maintain a liability insurance policy for the shows and name Canal Concerts Inc. as an additional insured party; lease the City Centre courtyard from Ulrich City Centre LLC, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on concert nights, at no cost; provide a staffed ambulance at every concert; cover Canal Concerts’ electric costs and ensure the company has access to three-phase power at City Centre; provide a changing room for the bands; and move portable bathrooms to and from the courtyard before/after the concerts.

Canal Concerts inc. is obliged to conduct a minimum of nine Friday night concerts per year in the courtyard; provide the city with a list of acts booked for the series by April 1 every year; obtain series sponsors and provide the “same level of performance” as in past years; clean up all refuse in the courtyard and have it placed at the curb for pickup; provide at least 15 security staff, and at least 15 portable bathrooms, at every concert; have the bathrooms cleaned weekly before city workers move them; select beer and food vendors and ensure they all have proper permits and/or licenses; return the courtyard to its “original” condition after concerts; provide four uniformed staff to man each ticket tent; ensure trailers and beer trucks are parked next to electric outlets, in specific places agreed upon by CCI and Ulrich City Centre; not block the entry and exit at Lock 34 Bar  & Grill at City Centre; use only “volunteers” as workers at concerts, or show worker compensation and state disability insurance paperwork for employees;  and ensure third-party vendors also can show the necessary paperwork for paid employees...
 We've all been through the perceived benefits or lack thereof so I'll leave that alone for the time being.

Buffalo News reported. They also noted that a 3yr deal is the same as the original and "par for the coarse".


"Other" Recycling

Posted by MJ

I was searching for the location to drop off a couple of our old printers that were in the attic. The Niagara County Landfill on Rt. 93 still takes electronic waste for free. During the search I noticed that the county has updated the website and has a lot of information on whee to recycle/donate/give away old items:

Niagara County "Other" Recycling Page.

Old sneakers? coats? craft/school supplies? furniture, eyeglasses, paint? There are some unique sources out there to not only get rid of the equipment and keep it out of the landfills but also to help out other people. 


March is Change Tote Size

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported last week:

March is the month for action for city residents who want to change the size of their garbage or recycling totes.

City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri said starting Thursday, residents may call the city’s taped refuse hotline at 439-6752 to leave their requests to go bigger—or smaller. Each resident is entitled to one free trade.
Garbage totes come in 35-, 64-and 96-gallon sizes, while recycling totes are available only in 64-and 96-gallon models. Pasceri said a limited number of 96- gallon recycling carts are available, but the city has ordered some yellow lids to convert 96-gallon garbage totes, which have blue lids, into recycling bins.
The trades will be carried out in late March and early April, Pasceri said.
The best news is the ability to get a larger recycling tote. Ours is full well before the bi-monthly pick up.


New Roof for Lockport Cruises

Posted by MJ

Last night the planing board gave approval to Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises for a new metal roof with cupola along with some facade improvements. I believe it is part of a matching grant  from the state done through the city planning office. The roof will go on top of the existing roof which will make it a quick project. The plan is to have it completed by this upcoming canal season. Some other businesses are also applying for the grant so hopefully I will have more to share in the upcoming months.

 Approved Roof - Facade

Current Roof - Facade


State of the City Address

Posted by MJ

ELockport has the full copy of Mayor Tucker's 2012 State of the City Address in PDF form and both the Buffalo News and LUSJ reported on it.

The good news:

  1. The city is in a relatively good financial state with a high bond rating.
  2. The new privatized garbage and refuse system is saving money and working well
  3. Tourism is up.
  4. Online bill payment coming soon
The bad news:
  1. All 5 union contracts are up and pension and healthcare cost are steeply rising.
  2. Taxes still relatively high
  3. No real residential or overall income growth.
  4. Housing stock becoming more and more outdated every passing year.
  5. Parks and Highway still starved to provide sufficient infrastructure maintenance
This could be expanded and feel free to add your thoughts. There is no doubt in my mind that the city is much better of than it was when I purchased here 7 years ago (so is our house ;). So much so that I am even a bit surprised. Still lacking is the overall vision, plan, and tools to create real growth in the city especially in residential investment.

As nice as the Tourism Task Force is, more important would be a Residential Investment Task Force. Residential dollars are here year round, they create semi-permanent investment in rehabilitating housing stock which increases the overall valuation of the city. Their investment also makes the city look better to the eyes of the tourist.

The city has done a great job putting out the budgetary fires. This can only last so long and will only be made more fire-proof by attracting long term investment in the city.


Ice Rink Revival

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the Ice Rink Complex in the old Jubilee on Chestnut St is gaining momentum again.

It’s been dormant for several years, but city officials were voicing optimism last week that the Lockport Ice Arena and Sports Center may become a reality as soon as this year.
“Recent developments have given us reason to believe that this project will become a reality very soon, and I am committed to making it happen,” Mayor Michael W. Tucker said in last week’s State of the City address.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said Ciminelli Real Estate Corp., hired in early December to mastermind the construction and financing of the arena, has submitted a construction estimate of $10 million to $14 million.
More importantly, Ottaviano said, Ciminelli has a plan to sell federal income tax credits to investors whose payments would comprise 38 percent of the construction cost.
Foundation grants also may be announced soon to assist with the funding of the twin-rink complex, to be built in the former Jubilee supermarket on Chestnut Street. Bank loans also are part of the financing plan.
“We’re within $3 million to $4 million of closing this entire deal,” Ottaviano said. “Now that’s a very significant number, but it’s a lot closer than we were before.” The rather large range in the construction budget reflects some decisions not yet made that could add or subtract costs.

Among them, Ottaviano said, are the exact size and exterior appearance of the building and whether parking should be expanding onto the former Dussault Foundry site at the foot of Washburn Street....
 A good idea that fills a local and regional need while reusing an unused building in DT. The bad idea is using the old Dussault Foundry site for parking. Why pave over downtown's only view over the escarpment for a parking lot? Why park people (potential customers) farther away from Main St and businesses ensuring they will never go there? Using the existing two lots at Locust and Washburn would put overflow parking within two blocks while getting foot traffic walking past store fronts. Other wise best of luck to the project.


City Bends to LPD Bait and Switch

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that the city has agreed to settle the LPD grievance over LFD dispatching duties. Regardless of how much, it is not a bad pay for the LPD considering we were sold on "no extra cost" by the police chief.

Considering there is no retroactive pay, I feel that the LPD may not have been too confident in an arbitration outcome themselves. I fail to see how we could have lost the arbitration. Did Chief Eggert not have the authority to negotiate during his sales pitch?

From an old Buffalo News Article (01-24-2010)

“Police Chief Lawrence M. Eggert urged the Common Council last week to turn Fire Department dispatching duties over to the Police Department.
For you to hand it to us now would be extremely simple. We could do it tomorrow,” Eggert said Wednesday. “I’m kind of hoping you give it to us. It’s easy. . . . We could do it for no cost.”



Posted by MJ

D'Vine Wine Bar is opening today in the UCC (former store front of Metropolitan and Indian Grill). They have a (very) basic website that has an all important menu and what appears to be a frequently used Facebook page. With 75 wines by the glass, 10 craft beers on tap and some unique menu offerings they should do well. It is a perfect business for a city which should be known as the epicenter of the Niagara Wine Trail.

Speaking of which, The Niagara region (Ontario and NY) is quite often listed as one of the top wine regions in the world. One would think a city wanting to cultivate a tourism market would latch onto that. Wouldn't they?


Cash Mob - Grimble's

Posted by MJ

An e-mail was forwarded to me today. It apparently originates from Jack Martin of J Fitzgerald Group located a few doors away. Here is the email:

Doug Bailey from our office told me of a story about a local hardware store in Chagrin Falls, OH, where the community all came together for one day to flood the place with sales. 
Since I love stealing good ideas, Doug and I thought this would be a great way to support one of Lockport's oldest businesses - Grimble's Hardware.  So here's what we'd like to do:
* On Saturday, February 4, we'd like everyone to visit Grimble's and agree to spend at least $20.  They are open from 8:30-5.
* Send this note to at least 10 other people, and encourage them to send it to at least 10 as well
Grimble's has been around since 1920 and, if you haven't been there, it's the place to find practically anything.  And unlike most big hardware stores, they actually know where everything is in the store.
Thanks to Doug Bailey for pointing out this story and idea.  It's hard to run a small business, especially in this economy, so let's see if we can all show support to one of our own just like they did in Ohio.  And while you're downtown, you should also stop by some of the other businesses and show your support.  Thanks.
Grimble's Hardware 
18 W Main St 
Lockport, NY 14094
Great initial story out of the Cleveland area and great idea to give it a shot here.


2013 Budget

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported that Tucker is already giving warnings on the 2013 budget.

Mayor Michael W. Tucker told the Common Council on Wednesday that layoffs might be necessary in next year’s budget if the Council wants to obey the state’s 2 percent property tax cap.

The Council voted to override the cap for the 2012 budget it passed in November, and it increased the tax levy by 9 percent.
Tucker told the Council that all five city union contracts run out at the end of this year.
“If we don’t get some wage concessions, which we probably won’t, and some health care concessions, those things alone will put us over 2 percent,” the mayor said. “If you’re going to hold [a tax increase] at 2 percent, you’re going to have to reduce the force by layoffs. I’m not going to be hiring anybody for a while.”
He told the aldermen he intends to meet with them individually in the next few weeks to sound out their attitudes toward meeting the tax cap in the 2013 budget.
“Sometimes it’s hard to keep expenses low. Health care will go up. It always does, probably 15 percent,” Tucker said...
I'll agree it's hard to keep expenses low and the city has made some progress in the recent past in trying to contain them. But until the city makes an honest progressive effort to start luring investment back into it, the same old record will be playing for the rest of our lifetimes. Most sadly become numb to the situation until they decide to move on.


Another Walmart Suit

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported.

Work on the Walmart supercenter has been stalled by a months-old lawsuit that town officials didn’t even know about until this week, Supervisor Marc R. Smith said Wednesday.

Smith said Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman briefed the Town Board behind closed doors Wednesday about a lawsuit a town resident filed July 1 in Albany against Walmart and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Since the town wasn’t a party to the suit and it wasn’t filed locally, no one told him about it until Monday, the supervisor said.
The suit was dismissed Oct. 4 by a State Supreme Court judge in Albany, but it is being appealed, said Daniel A. Spitzer of the Hodgson Russ firm, attorney for the plaintiff....
Where are people getting the money for these lawsuits? The lawsuit costs have to be higher than any property value loss. A Walmart half the size of the old mall is going in with new view sound barriers etc. What's the real issue? 


SOS Canal St.

Posted by MJ

Same Old Situation (S.O.S) on Canal St. The Buffalo news reported another bidder has pulled out.

A clothing store has withdrawn its offer to buy a building at 51 Canal St. because its owner didn’t feel the city was really interested in him.

Lindsey Hicks, of Picasso Moon, who wanted to relocate his business from Main Street, said last week he might end up in Buffalo. 
His was the clothing business city officials previously said wanted 51 Canal St.

A recreational sales business wants to buy both 51 and 79-81 Canal St., while a third contender, a gift and decor shop interested only in 79-81 Canal, seems to have receded in the city’s view

R. Charles Bell, city director of planning and development, said the recreational sales business may feature seasonal activity offerings of potential tourist interest, such as rentals of bicycles and other sporting goods.
However, he said, the deal isn’t ready for the board of the city’s development corporation to vote on yet, though that could change by meeting time Thursday..
Once the the final establishments, if any, pop up on Canal St. we'll have to take a look back and see if all this drama was worth it. The street is so sparse on store fronts that regardless of what goes in there it will hardly be a place of abundant activity. The gazebo plot would need infill with upper residential of any hope of critical mass. As always, I'll always pray that we someday see the original Niagara Wine Trail concept reappear.

As I have mentioned before, it would also be great to see a Trek sign on the Canal facade of their building to show people driving by some type of life on the street.


Ottaviano Switching Firms

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo news reported that the city attorney is switching firms.

The city’s attorney disclosed Thursday that he’s switching law firms and taking some of his municipal work with him.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said as of Wednesday he’s leaving the Harris Beach firm and joining Rupp, Baase, Pfalzgraf, Cunningham&Coppola of Buffalo...

...Ottaviano said his duties as the city’s salaried attorney are independent of his ties to Harris Beach, but his work for the Greater Lockport Development Corp. and the Niagara Falls Water Board came through contracts bid by Harris Beach

He said he will take those with him to Rupp Baase and continue representing them as well as the City of Lockport.
Ottaviano said he will keep his private law office at the same Lockport location.


Air Base at Risk Again?

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News reported  that the Niagara Falls Air Force base may be at risk of closure again.

Seven years after surviving a near-death experience, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station finds its future in question once again under a Pentagon budget blueprint released Thursday.

In a cost-cutting move, the Air Force said that it would retire 65 of the kind of transport planes that are based in the Falls -- though it did not yet say which bases would be losing those planes...
...Since the Falls base was proposed for closure both in the 2005 closure round and another a decade earlier, Lane said, it's possible that a new base-closure panel would do the same. "You'd think they might look at what's been done in the past and dust it off," Lane said.
Next week, Lane will travel to Washington with John A. Cooper, vice chairman of the Niagara Military Affairs Council, to discuss the base with Pentagon officials and lawmakers.
Lane said the base, with 3,500 employees, is Niagara County's largest employer...


Peter's Dry Cleaning

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo New's reported on the continuing housing court battle on Willow over the partially collapsed former Pete's Dry Cleaning.

It will be sad to see the structure go. The ivy covered read brick building was an interesting surprise when walking along Willow. Considering its use it blended in very well with the rest of the residential street.


Garbage Fee Reductions for Some

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that owners who have owned their properties for less than a year have been requesting that some of their bill be credited.

The city treasurer’s office will adjust the city refuse collection bills of property owners who didn’t own and occupy property for the entire Jan. 1 to Oct. 10, 2011, billing period.

City Treasurer Michael White confirmed Tuesday that his office will reduce the bills of property owners who can show, through property documents, that they didn’t use 91⁄2 months of city refuse pickup service last year.

The new policy comes after a couple of property owners complained about the $147 per property city refuse bill. In both cases, the owners said they had purchased property in the spring or early summer of 2011 and didn’t think it was fair to be stuck with charges for refuse service dating back to Jan. 1....
I can see both sides here. It is a levy on the property out of the general ledger. It was technically an even split between properties of the cost of the system and not based on use or assessment etc. One the face of it though I can understand the feeling of being over charged.

I'm not sure how much effort I would want to put in to save $20. Maybe if I bought the place in August and was saving $100?


Planning Board Agenda Jan 2012

Posted by MJ

I have been slacking on posting the planning board agenda. So with a new year a new resolution to keep on it.

January 2012 agenda for meeting at 5pm on 01/09/2012

We will be getting a Subway on Main St and the Salvation Army will be submitting their new layout driven by the discussion posted here: Zoning - Salvation Army and DT.


Lockport's Natural Caves

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News had an article by Niagara County historian Craig Bacon about Lockport's Limestone cave system.

Caverns of an indeterminate length and size wind under the city’s yards and streets. They have been traversed, explored, studied, polluted and debated for nearly 200 years, but there are as many unfounded rumors about the caves as there are documented facts.
What is undisputed is that the Lockport cave is a natural, limestone cavity. It is not to be confused the with the man-made cave on the northern side of the Erie Canal, which is used today as a tourist attraction, or the culvert covering Eighteen Mile Creek as it crosses the eastern part of the city.
The earliest mention of the cave dates to 1816, when John Comstock built a cabin near its mouth....
 It's interesting to note where Cave Street's name came from and a little more history about the caves that I heard about here and there.

After watching Sanctum last night, we're sure we would not want to explore them even if they were still accessible. I would love to see pictures though. It's also very interesting to here of homeowners who ad access from their basements. How interesting that would have been as child.


Christmas Tree Pickup

Posted by MJ

Happy New Year!

Christmas tree pick-up is now ongoing. It is being done by City Brush Chipping Crews as it has been in the past. Place the tree at the curb with the trunk facing the road.

We went with a second tree this year/ It was a small 4ft pine in the front bay window to go along with the fake tree in the sitting room. Although hesitant to go to two trees, my mind was changed and  I enjoyed the results.

In other refuse news, seeing the ongoing lack of 64-gallon trash totes for people to trade for, I'd be happy to trade in my 64-gallon recycling tote for a 96 gallon one. I could easily spray paint the cover yellow.

Blog Archive