Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 23, 2013

TOP STORIES (8): Planned civic center front and center in Lewiston

Niagara Gazette — It began 2013 as an anticipated proposal, drawing support from multiple organizations throughout Lewiston, Porter and Youngstown and more than one school district.

But the fate of the Lewiston Civic Center swung 180 degrees as the calendar shifted into summer and when it mattered, Lewiston residents emphatically turned down the town’s proposal to build the estimated $10 million building.

The vote wasn’t even close as “no” votes more than doubled the affirmatives during a special election in July. And it left just one of a number of black eyes on the political career of then-Supervisor Steve Reiter.

Reiter termed the defeat of his project, which he campaigned on while bidding for the leadership office in 2010, “disappointing” as town clerk employees read off the results that night, adding the project likely died completely and wouldn’t be redesigned to fit a smaller footprint.

The vote came weeks after Reiter was reportedly questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigations over drainage work he’d performed as highway superintendent before 2010, as well as the disappearance of gasoline from town stores. The negative publicity may have influenced the decision handed down by voters, while questions of spending on the project also arose weeks before.

Starting out as the Lewiston Recreation and Senior Citizens Center, the building was designed to provide anyone in town a place to go to exercise or meet. But after much debate, the town dropped plans to relocate the senior citizens center into the building, dropping the estimated cost and appeasing many of those who use the current center on Lower River Road.

Renamed the Lewiston Civic Center, a committee in charge of overseeing its development contacted and approached highly regarded The Sports Facilities Advisory founder Dev Pathik, a Florida-based contractor who would’ve likely been hired in some capacity had the building been approved.

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