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MAYOR, AGENCY TO DIRECT RICHMOND AVENUE PROJECT

As the Richmond Avenue redevelopment project moves ahead, Mayor Thomas C. Sullivan and the Greater Lockport Redevelopment Corp. will be directing it.

The Common Council voted unanimously Wednesday to let Sullivan and the development agency board, which he heads, make almost all the decisions on the project, including awarding of contracts for cleanup and demolition at the site.

Richmond Avenue, a dingy one-block street on the north bank of the Erie Canal, is scheduled for private development. The city, which received a $1 million federal grant to acquire most of the block and demolish whatever buildings it sees fit, is negotiating with developer Ben Kendig of Rochester.

Kendig's proposal is to save four buildings and renovate them into usable commercial space while demolishing the rest. He also wants a $600,000 low-interest loan from the city and a 40-year lease on the block.

The Council still will have to vote on the eventual contract with Kendig, as well as an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation for site cleanup. It will include removal of asbestos from buildings and underground storage tanks.

"For the past several weeks, I've been talking to Ben Kendig almost daily," said Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano. "There are day-to-day decisions that have to be made, and it's very cumbersome to come to this (Council) every two weeks."

The aldermen also gave Sullivan the go-ahead to sign a deal with InteGreyted Consultants of Syracuse to be construction manager for the eventual cleanup and demolition. Ottaviano said the price is still being negotiated but will likely be about $130,000.

The city used some of the federal money to acquire eight parcels on the block for a total price of $297,500 without having to go through eminent domain proceedings.

The Kohl family will be paid $175,000 for six parcels, including $20,000 to pay to relocate Walter Kohl's motorcycle repair shop. The city will pay $71,500 for the Licata Bros. vending building and paid $51,000 for the Model T Bar.

On another topic, the Council set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Nov. 7 on a new sidewalk-cleaning ordinance. Residents will still be required to shovel snow and ice off the sidewalks in front of their properties, but if they don't, the city can hire someone to do it and send the property owner the bill.

If the bill isn't paid, it will be added to the following year's taxes. Also, the measure includes fines from $100 to $250 for violations, 15 days in jail, or both.

Also Wednesday, the Council passed a five-year, no-cost extension of an easement allowing Hydraulic Race Co. access to the entrance to the Lockport Cave at Upson Park. The firm offers boat tours of the cave, a popular attraction.

It also agreed to spend $2,957 in bed tax revenue to buy an ad for the city in next year's "I Love New York" travel guide.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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