Niagara Gazette — Residents in the Memorial Parkway area have gained a few neighbors.
The city auctioned off three houses near Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center on Wednesday night in an effort to promote home ownership and get city owned, tax-foreclosed houses back on the tax rolls.
Chloe Long, a summer and after school program instructor at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, won the auction for a 10th Street house near Ferry Avenue with a high bid of $950.
"I'm so excited," Long said, beaming as she and her fiancee, Stanley Sigle, stood at the front of council chambers at City Hall filling out paperwork.
Long, who was born and raised in Niagara Falls, said she can't wait to refurbish the home's historic features and move in with Sigle and her six children.
"I think this is a great way to restore Niagara Falls," Long said.
Sigle, who gained trades skills as part of a Navy construction crew, will do most of the work with the help of family and people he works with in a real estate rehabilitation company he recently started called Flippin Bricks Investments.
Long wasn't sure she was going to be able to stay in her hometown before hearing about the auction and winning the right to rehabilitate the house. She recently had a home purchase fall through and was considering moving back to the Georgia, she said.
"I think this is going to help the city to reclaim its beauty and encourage people to stay here," Long said. "Because this was it for me."
Long remembers watching friends and relatives move away throughout the decades, often leaving unclaimed homes behind, she said.
"Everyone called this place a graveyard, but I've always had this feeling that, you know what, it just takes one person at a time to have enough faith to go back to Niagara Falls," Long said. "If all of us can come back together I believe that there will be an opportunity to restore the place and to actually add value to the city."