Niagara Gazette

Opinion

August 4, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Economic development and the Hamister project

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — The so-called city council majority are being obstructionist to the Hamister proposal. As Comptroller DiNapoli stated in 2009, where are the specific and clear proposals from this majority as to what they desire for the development of Parcel 4? Just throwing out an arbitrary amount for the purchase of Parcel No. 4 isn’t what DiNapoli was recommending.

“This is all too familiar in Niagara Falls. By rights, it should be one of the nation’s prime tourist cities, but instead it is a derelict and much of the blame for that can be traced to greed, incompetence and corruption in city government.” (Buffalo News editorial, July 23).

How can the council majority justify to the taxpayers the present use of Parcel 4 as a parking lot in which the developer is paying the city only $27,000 annually, and receiving $12 in profit for every $1 it pays the city? Conversely, the Hamister Group is investing $22 million in private money that is part of a $25 million project?

The council majority argues that the land is worth more than the $100,000 outlined in the deal.”I’d like to see a fair and equitable price that’s beneficial to all the people of Niagara Falls.” (Sam Fruscione, July 4, Niagara Gazette). Is the parking lot on Parcel 4 producing income that is beneficial to all the people of Niagara Falls?

The city council voted unanimously in February 2012 to accept the Hamister Group as the project’s preferred developer and that its contribution to the project would be the land for $100,000. The Hamister Project will produce construction and permanent jobs, new tax revenues, bed tax, sales tax, and parking revenue.

Fruscione was in favor of the plan. “It’s a great plan and we are looking forward to having it built down there.” (Fruscione, Feb. 23, 2012, Niagara Gazette) “I was born in 1966, and all I’ve ever seen them do is knock the buildings down, so to see something actually being built in my lifetime is big.” (Sam Fruscione, Feb. 23, 2012, Buffalo News).

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