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FORMER JUNIOR HIGH NEARS NEW LEASE ON LIFE

The City of Tonawanda's Kibler Junior High School is about to become a senior citizen development.

The $8 million project is almost complete and set to open May 15, said Mayor Alice Roth.

The city just received an extra $150,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, most of which will go toward the project, Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda, announced Friday.

The bulk of the money, about $100,000 will go toward appliances and similar items for the inside of the apartment building on Main Street, Roth said. About $50,000 of the federal money will go toward resurfacing Hinds Street and Dodge Drive, she added.

The Kibler Junior High School building is owned by the Western New York Veterans Housing Coalition, which is converting the structure into a 75-unit senior apartment building.

Total cost of the renovation project is about $8 million, with additional support coming from the federal, state and city governments as well as the Tonawanda Housing Authority, M&T Bank and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency.

The project will convert the 75-year-old building on Main Street into a complex featuring 55 one-bedroom and 20 two-bedroom apartments. Construction began in May 2000.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. It was acquired by the Tonawanda Community Development Agency in 1994 through a tax foreclosure.

The project is on budget and on schedule, Roth said.

The building will be rented to senior citizens who meet certain income criteria, with veterans getting preference, she said.

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