Niagara Gazette


April 8, 2013

HIGGS: Niagara Street School - Then and now


Niagara Gazette — In 2005, the Niagara Falls School District voted to build a new school and after much dialog and active citizen participation led by Niagara Street Business Association Revitalization Coordinator Frances Scarfone, decided to keep the school in the same location. The existing buildings were demolished, the students moved and a new modern elementary school was built in the same spot. At the groundbreaking held in November 2005, then school board President Russell Petrozzi stated “we wanted the school here to help the neighborhood remain strong.” The students were split between the Harry F. Abate Elementary School on Lockport Street, the former St. Joseph’s School on Pine Avenue and the former St. Stanislaus School on 24th Street during demolition and construction.

Not much changes as a Niagara Gazette article appeared on April 27, 2006, about four convicted sex offenders living in a rooming house at 1967 and 1969 Niagara Street a few blocks walking distance from the St. Stanislaus School during this construction. This same articles quotes Tom Herzog, deputy executive director of New York State’s Division of Parole at the time, stating the rooming house has been used “for a number of years” as a home for parolees who do not have a place to live when they leave prison. He continued “that local parole supervisors monitor the house closely and believes it meets all state standard for where sex offenders can live, including being a safe distance from nearby schools.” The controversy continues even today as this same building continues to rent to the highest level (Level 3 and Level 2) of people who have been convicted of sex crimes. And it still sits 900 feet from the new Niagara Street School. The legal state legislation limit is 1,000 feet. Seven years later, Niagara Falls remains as the place to continuously house the highest number of sex offenders even though their crimes were not committed in New York state and still continues to place them in this illegal location. Hello!

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