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Purchase of site for ice boom's fleet finalizes power agency storage plan

First, the ice boom got a new home. Now, the boats that the New York Power Authority uses to put it in place are getting a new landlord.

The Power Authority's board of trustees Tuesday approved a $4.4 million deal to buy a 15-acre site along the Buffalo River that it has used for the last 19 years to moor the barge, icebreaker and one of the tugboats used to install, maintain and remove the ice boom during the winter months.

The purchase of the site from Ganco Inc., which operates the First Buffalo River Marina at 32 Fuhrmann Blvd., solidifies a series of new arrangements for the 1.7-mile-long ice boom and its related equipment.

The Power Authority previously paid $1.025 million for a 10.3-acre parcel from Killian Bulk Transport that it now is using as a summer storage area for the ice boom. The purchase of that riverfront property at 41 Hamburg St. allowed the Power Authority to fulfill the promise it made when renewing its federal license to move the storage area from a 14-acre site off Fuhrmann Boulevard on the outer harbor.

"When you tie this in with that, we've shown our willingness to deal with an issue that's been very contentious," said Richard M. Kessel, the authority's president and chief executive officer.

"This pretty much closes [a] chapter on on our ice boom program," Kessel said during the authority's board meeting in Buffalo. "It's great for the community."

The Power Authority purchased the marina after Ganco put the property up for sale and told the authority that it no longer was willing to lease the mooring space that it had used since 1991.

Authority officials determined that the marina site was best because of its somewhat sheltered location and its proximity to the new ice boom storage facility.

The authority expects to hire a private firm to operate the marina.

The Power Authority also awarded an $18.7 million contract to Hohl Industrial Services to do repair work on the 28 intake gates at the Robert Moses Power Plant in Lewiston. The Town of Tonawanda contractor will repair one gate this year, and then two during each of the following years.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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