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Business district parking is a concern

LEWISTON -- Village Board members had a discussion Monday about a problem many municipalities wish they had to face -- not enough parking for a successful business district.

Mayor Richard F. Soluri said Richard Hastings, the owner of the Frontier House on Center Street, has been allowing the village to use his lot for municipal parking for many years, but Hastings plans to develop a 27-unit condominium as part of a renovation project and wants to begin work in the parking lot.

Hastings will start removing a playground and close the lot Oct. 31, Soluri said.

"It's his parking lot, and he wants to close it," the mayor said.

Hastings' project, which is proposed as condominiums for older tenants, has been challenged in court by PRS Press Limited. Herbert Richardson, a spokesman for the group, said the group's concerns include the loss of parking, loss of historical character of the Frontier House and stress on the sewer system.

Soluri said Monday that he did not know the status of the lawsuit. He told the board that Hastings had only asked to work on the parking lot and said he would meet with Hastings.

"He waited until the festivals were over," Soluri said. "Now our biggest need will be at Christmas for the Christmas Walk. I'd like to talk to him and see if there's not a lot of debris if we could reopen [the lot for municipal purposes]."

If not, he said the village will need to start looking at other parking options.

In another parking-related matter, the board heard from Harold Hibbard, of Hibbard's Custard on Portage Road.

Hibbard said he would like to see curbs removed from in front of his business, as they have for other businesses on Portage Road, and would like the board to create additional parking opposite his business at Academy Park.

"Everyone else has this advantage of parking [on other sides of Academy Park]," he said. "When the custard stand gets busy, it gets congested."

Trustee Terry Collesano called the requests a "huge cost," and suggested Hibbard Enterprises might be willing to contribute toward the project.

Hibbard and the board agreed to continue to discuss the project and the costs.

The board also approved a county plan submitted by Ceretto to put a recycling Dumpster in the village. It will be located on Eighth and Seneca streets, across from the library.

Niagara County will pick up electronic wastes, such as computers, monitors, cell phones, computer chips, fax machines, lap tops, electric wire, telephones, keyboards, computer mice and even barbecue grills and 20-pound propane tanks.


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