Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 13, 2013

Court takes lead as steps taken to reopen North End community center


Niagara Gazette — The lawsuit filed in April by two individuals claiming to have standing as board members asked the court to dissolve the association. Members of the current board — six of which are named as defendants in the case — have consistently said that they are working on plans to reopen the facility, including efforts to raise funds needed to install new, more energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

Following Thursday's conference, both Restaino and Pigeon said the two sides, along with the attorney general's office, have agreed to attempt to work out their differences with the court's help. They said all parties agreed that the primary goal should remain on what's best for the long-term interests of the center itself.

Restaino said the first step in the process will be a court-sanctioned assessment of the actual building, which was closed to the public in 2008 and has since been condemned.

Restaino said Caruso will select the individual or company to perform the assessment and the results of which will be shared with all parties once it is complete. The assessment is intended to give all parties involved a sense of the condition of the site and what it might cost to reopen it, Restaino said.

In the meantime, Restaino and Pigeon said all parties will continue their dialogue. Restaino said the focus remains on establishing a ''blueprint" for how to improve the governance of the center in the future.

"The court is now directing the attorneys to make sure the by-laws are followed," Restaino said.

Both Restaino and Pigeon indicated that the process is expected take weeks, not months, adding that the court has set a July 9 return date to discuss their progress.

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