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Council acts to finish yacht club sale

The Common Council on Tuesday night moved the city closer to completing the sale of the Niagara River Yacht Club.

The Council adopted a resolution for a home-rule measure from the State Legislature on selling the property at 1000 River Road. If approved, the city will be able to complete the sale of the facility, City Attorney Shawn P. Nickerson said.

The yacht club was originally sold at auction in 2005, and the Council approved selling the yacht club for $520,000 to Marna Abada, a developer from Wallkill, during a session in October 2005.

Th sale was stalled, however, because the waterfront property is considered parkland, requiring State Legislature approval.

The sale also posed a problem because revenue from the yet-to-be-completed transaction appeared in this year's budget as revenue -- creating the potential for shortfall, city officials said.

The Council last month, as part of the sales process, approved a resolution saying the transfer of the yacht club would not adversely affect public access to the waterfront. The four-acre property has operated as a private marina, dating from the 1950s, and never allowed public access, Nickerson said.

Also, the city plans to soon acquire the adjacent 53-acre Gratwick-Riverside Park from National Grid -- reaping more waterfront property, which serves as trade-off, city officials said.

The city currently has a $50,000 deposit from the bidder. Council President Brett Sommer remarked that Abada has been very patient as details of the sale are sorted out. "The city is very fortunate that this person has stood by the sale," Sommer said.

Sommer said he and other city officials were not sure when state lawmakers will vote on the home-rule measure.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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