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 —

At a recent public hearing on the expansion project, officials from the county legislature, town board and school district all praised the expansion and the abatement, with some seeking adjustments on particular aspects of the agreement.

“That’s a smack in the face,” Kehoe said.

Looking back, Kehoe said, he wishes he had more time to make a decision. He believes he would have stuck it out with the Dinsmores.

“Desperate people do desperate things,” Kehoe said.

FINDING LITTLE HELP

Mall public relations representatives have maintained they will honor all leases in the past. They did not respond to a request for comment on the tax abatement by the time this story went to press.

Judi Dinsmore enlisted her ex-husband Jeff’s help when rumors started to fly after it was announced that the park owners were to the lose the property due to unpaid taxes. He contacted a number of organizations — University at Buffalo School of Law, the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal — seeking legal advice throughout the process.

Judi credits Jeff with helping to keep her and other residents of Sabre Park aware of their rights, even if in the end his efforts go to waste.

“He’s kept us afloat this long,” Judi said.

Jeff said that despite his efforts to organize tenants and assert their collective bargaining power, he could not convince people to fight the company as the residents fled one by one out of fear instilled by, first, rumors and then eviction notices. In the end, Jeff concedes, he and others who wanted to fight the eviction were no match for the huge company.

“If they want to throw you out, they can,” he said.

Like Kehoe, Jeff views the tax abatement that the IDA is considering to be an insult. Many of the people who had homes or invested in the park were hardworking taxpayers of the town of Niagara and Niagara County, he said.

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