SANBORN -- The Sanborn Historical Society announced plans Tuesday to buy a 56- acre farm and apply for finan cial grants to build a tourist village featuring 19th-century heritage.
James Cranston, vice presi dent of the historical group, said the project would be the "biggest tourist development in Niagara County in 30 years."
The farm, owned by Leon ard Wienke, is on Saunders Settlement Road between Town Line Road and the Ni agara-Wheatfield School cam pus.
"This is one of the busiest roads in the county, and the heritage village would attract busloads of tourists on a daily basis," Cranston said.
The organization has re ceived a letter of intent from Wienke to sell the farm to the society for an undisclosed sum, said Gary Townsend, president of the historical so ciety.
Once they have the proper ty, society officials will apply to the federal and state gov ernments and to the Town of Lewiston for grants to develop the village, which would recre ate life in the last century.
"The project is in the early stages of development, and it's really firing up," Cranston said.
The 200-member Sanborn Historical Society was incorpo rated last April and was recog nized by the state Board of Regents, making it eligible for government and private grants.
Support has been offered by the New York State Muse um, said David Palmquist of the museum's office of exter nal affairs.
The state has agreed to provide a specialist in histori cal planning to help with the design of the village.
"This is a good develop ment for Sanborn, and would bring many tourists into the entire area," said Richard F. Demus, Town of Lewiston su pervisor.
With the demise of the Ni agara Falls Historical Society and the continuing investiga tion into its lost or stolen arti facts, the fledgling Sanborn Historical Society hopes to grow into a prominent organi zation in Niagara County, Cranston said.
"We're just starting up, and we're still small, but we've got some big ideas," he said.