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LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

>Funds again approved to replace Unity Park II

NIAGARA FALLS -- The City Council reapproved funding this week for a long-stalled project to demolish and replace Unity Park II, a public housing project on Ninth Street.

Norstar Development USA wants to replace the 198 units that once housed low-income families with 40 larger units with up to four or five rooms. That $10 million plan has been approved by the state, which owns the property through mortgage foreclosure.

The funding package was complete until the Department of Housing and Urban Development rejected financing the project last year because it reduced the amount of units.

James W. Pitts, executive director of Norstar's Buffalo office, said that problem has been resolved and the work now will be funded through low-income housing tax credits and help from the State Urban Development Corp.

The Council on Monday reappropriated $453,166 in funds from community development and upheld property tax exemption to be used if the project is completed.

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>Niagara Expo in mall showcases businesses

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- Niagara Expo 2006, a free event showcasing Niagara region businesses and family-friendly entertainment, is today from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Outlets at Niagara Falls USA mall.

Presented by the Town of Niagara Business and Professional Association, the new event includes exhibits by more than 30 businesses.

For more information, visit www.niagaraexpo.com.

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>Two hearings to precede Village Board meeting

MIDDLEPORT -- The Middleport Village Board will hold two public hearings beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by its regular monthly board meeting.

The first hearing concerns a correction to the village zoning map to restore residential status to a State Street home it erroneously marked as commercial. The second is amending its sidewalk zoning code to prevent property owners from paving over the sidewalk when it crosses their driveways.

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>Developer wants to buy former school building

NIAGARA FALLS -- A developer proposed Thursday the Niagara Falls School Board sell his company the former South Junior High School on Portage Road. The property would be used for an apartment complex to provide housing for people with modest incomes.

Larry Regan, president of Regan Development Corp of Ardsley, said he envisions demolishing the school and building 120 apartments at an estimated cost of about $20 million. He said the development would include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments to be rented at modest rates by individuals, families and senior citizens making less than $40,000 a year.

Regan said his company would have to negotiate with the city, School Board and Niagara County to get an in-lieu of-taxes deal to make the project work.

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