Niagara Gazette

September 9, 2013

Lewiston officials weigh options on senior center

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — The Senior Citizens Center on Lower River Road is in need of some repair work. The roof has been leaking throughout some of the major rainfalls this year and one of the building's air conditioning units needs replacing.

But those responsible for making the decisions and getting the work started have yet to agree to any sort of plan.

There was more indecision Monday during a Lewiston Town Board work session, as the five member body needed to determine how much money it would spend on the repairs and figure out where the money would come from.

"The roof was the bulk of the cost," town engineer Ryan Smith said of the projected $157,000 price tag the repairs are quoted to cost. "We could recommend doing little lipstick repairs to it, but we'll be back here again in a few years."

The overall figure, which also includes some incentives and rebates to help afford the new installations, Smith said.

Specifically, the roof would cost the town about $90,000 of the quoted total, he said.

The building's roof, which has leaked into a building storeroom and into a smaller lunch room during this season's rainstorms, is flat, which Supervisor Steve Reiter has said contributes to the water infiltration. But installing a peaked roof, which would shed the water to the building's sides, appears impossible, he said.

"The (building) cannot handle a peaked roof," he said, explaining there's a lack of support at the center of the building for anything different. "So we're looking at a costly repair."

He said he'd investigate with town finance director Michael Johnson a budget line capable of funding the repairs.

While the pair are looking for money, Councilman Ernie Palmer questioned whether the town should even spend anything more on a building likely not up to standards for senior centers. The town purchased the property for a dollar when it converted an old church into the center there.

Palmer wondered if maybe demolishing the building and designing a new center on its foundation wouldn't be a better option.

"At what point do we cut our losses with that building," he said. "I'd like to see that building knocked down and a new one built there."

He was told by Smith the building would require an asbestos investigation before it could be demolished.

While the board deliberates whether the price tag is affordable, one bit of repair work at the center is on temporary hold due to the weather.

The parking lot, in line to receive new sealer this past weekend, was not touched due to rain Saturday. The inclement weather appears to have pushed back the resealing process at the center until at least Sept. 20, according to Town Clerk Carol Brandon. 

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.