Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 24, 2013

As Sabre Park crumbles around them, the few remaining residents deal with frustration of situation

As Sabre Park crumbles around them, the few remaining residents deal with frustration

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette —

Judi said that all of Michael’s medical needs are close to the park.

“All his stuff is right here,” she said.

TAKING THE BUYOUT

The lengthy legal process that will ultimately lead to the park being replaced by the mall expansion spurred many rumors and various responses from residents. Some left early, fearful of being evicted over night. Some took the company’s buyout offer.

Robert Kehoe lived at Sabre Park for almost a decade. In October, he told the Gazette that he was not sure if he would take the buyout offer. A few weeks later, in what he has described as a hasty decision, he signed on the dotted line.

Kehoe, who now rents an apartment in Niagara Falls, said the $800 dollars he was paid to leave early did not come close to covering the expense of relocating.

“What a stupid mistake that was,” he said. “It was not worth it.”

As a term of the buyout offer Kehoe and other residents who took the deal also had their rent waived from November of last year through February.

Kehoe has said that he originally moved from the city to the town for the school district. His daughter is a special needs student and he wanted to provide her with a better education. Now she is back in the Falls school district and he fears that his daughter will not get the support that she needs to flourish.

“I had to move somewhere that I don’t want to be because I can’t afford it,” he said.

Kehoe said he feels that town and county elected officials are now rubbing salt in the wound by talking glowingly about the expansion and publicly supporting a tax abatement — estimated to be worth $7.8 million over the course of the 15- year agreement — from the town of Niagara Industrial Development Agency that the company has applied for on the project. The IDA is still assembling the deal and will vote on it after the results of an environmental review are submitted.

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