Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 5, 2013

With first sales approved, Falls officials hope sale of vacant properties takes off

With first sales approved, city officials hope sale of vacant properties takes off

Niagara Gazette — When Robert Hull, Jr. looks back at the vacant, overgrown lots behind his house he can envision his two boys playing on a neatly trimmed, fenced-in lawn.

“I’d love for them to have a little bit more of a place to play,” he said.

He will now be able to realize that vision.

Hull was one of four residents to seek out city-owned vacant lots next to their houses as part of the Community Development department’s “Niagara Falls Open House” program, which was announced in June.

Hull and three other homeowners had the sale of the lots approved by the city council at the July 24 meeting. The final paperwork was drawn up by the law department this week and homeowners can soon start to mow down chest-high weeds and plant gardens.

Hull said he has thought about buying the lots for a while and actually put an offer in with the city before the new program was announced.

“I’ve been interested in those properties for a number of years,” he said.

Hull will now be able to have a suburban feel to his city home. He bought the two lots on Ontario Avenue for a total price of $600. They sit directly behind his red brick Niagara Avenue home — built in 1892 — meaning that his property now stretches the length of the block.

Hull, his wife Sarah Hull, their boys Robbie, 3, and Jack, 8 months, and their Boston terrier Zippo will have a yard that more closely resembles those in Pendleton or Wilson, where mom and dad grew up, than the typical city plot.

Sarah said they hope to plant some trees and gardens this year, so long as they can find time between taking care of the kids.

“I have an obsession with peonies, so I might make a long peonies garden,” Sarah said.

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