Niagara Gazette — Rick Crogan was staring down a deadline he knew he couldn’t defeat. The leader of the Main Street Business & Professional Association knew his term was set to expire at the conclusion of 2013 with no hope for an extension.
So he took matters into his own hands and stepped down from his presidency Thursday morning, five months before he was scheduled to vacate.
“I just felt I hit a roadblock where I was,” he said. “We’ve seen one business open up in three years. That’s just unacceptable.”
Crogan made the announcement via his Facebook page, saying he had a desire to become more involved in the city’s political process this year as three city council positions are up for grabs. He said he’ll focus on getting to know both sides of every issue facing the city and push to get residents out to vote come November.
What prompted the decision Thursday? He said a “baffling” decision by the current council regarding a lucrative and controversial $25 million hotel project at Wednesday’s meeting left him shaking his head.
Negotiated between Buffalo-based developer Hamister Group, USA Niagara Development Corp. and the city for a parcel of land located at 310 Rainbow Blvd. Much of the holdup has focused on questions concerning the price of the land, which was negotiated at $100,000, despite some critics claiming fair market value is as high as $2 million.
This figure stems from an email by city assessor James Bird who estimated the value despite an assessed figure set at $215,800.
Crogan called the decision to ignore the hotel project “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
“That was the last straw.” he said. “My partner and I talked and we didn’t want to do it. But when that happened, I said ‘that’s it.’ I had to get out of there.”