Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 4, 2013

Falls voters overwhelmingly approve measures to sell school properties

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls School District will be shedding some real estate in the coming days.

City voters approved plans to sell off several school district properties in a four-part referendum vote Wednesday night. All four proposals were approved by measures of 5-to-1 or greater, according to unofficial tallies from district officials.

"The residents voted overwhelmingly against vacancy, against blight," said Niagara Falls Community Development Director Seth Piccirillo after hearing the unofficial results late Wednesday.

The proposals tied to the vote are as follows:

• A former school district administration building and adjacent garage on Walnut Avenue will be sold to Housing Visions Inc., a Syracuse not-for-profit, for $20,000. The agency plans to convert the administration building into apartments and office space and demolish the garage to make way for infill housing. Housing Visions has also agreed to buy several vacant houses on Walnut Avenue and Seventh Street, which it plans to demolish and replace with more housing. The project would see 41 new units made available to low- and moderate-income residents with a particular focus on supplying housing for women in programming with the agency's local partner Carolyn's House, which helps women escape abusive relationships.

• The former South Junior High School building will be sold to CB Emmanuel Realty for $66,000. The developer plans to convert the former high school into 62 apartments and approximately 23,000 square feet of office space that could be used by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. The Hospital's President and CEO Joseph Ruffolo sent a letter of intent to the developer, saying the hospital would be interested in opening offices in the building. The city has committed a $5 million Restore New York grant it secured in 2009 for the purpose of rehabilitating the building.

• A group of lots on Jerauld and North Avenues will be sold to the city for $1. The city is looking at the possibility of restoring or replacing play equipment on the 11-lot plot, Mayor Paul Dyster said.

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