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Property deal, plan for yard waste weighed by Council

A real estate deal that could result in a new manufacturing plant was disclosed by city officials last week.

Also discussed at the Common Council meeting was a new plan for collecting yard waste.

On the business front, Planning and Development Director R. Charles Bell revealed that Greater Lockport Development Corp., or GLDC, the city's development agency, has agreed to take title to 45.2 acres of vacant land on Summit Street and State Road, if a local development company completes a deal.

The agreement was passed in a closed-door session of the GLDC board April 26. Its minutes were released last week.

Bell said Waterbourne Group of Getzville, which has a contract with the city to find tenants for commercial buildings on Canal Street, is involved with an unidentified company seeking a location for a light manufacturing and office facility.

Waterbourne has a $135,000 purchase contract with the estate of Raymond E. Ruhlmann Jr. to buy the farmland on the north side of Summit Street and around the corner on State Road.

"There's a lot of contingencies in that," Bell said.

The major contingency is that the deal doesn't happen if Waterbourne can't make a deal with the manufacturing company to construct its new facility.

But if that connection is made, GLDC will reimburse Waterbourne for the $135,000, as well as paying the realty commission for both buyer and seller, totaling 7 percent, or $9,450. The city agency also would cover the seller's closing costs and attorney fees.

Bell said the city then would lease the land to Waterbourne, which would build the plant.

The property would remain on the tax rolls, unless the company were to obtain a tax break from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.

A company would need either a rezoning or a variance to build there. Bell said that not all the land can be developed; about 17 acres are considered wetlands.

Meanwhile, City Clerk Richelle J. Pasceri offered the Council a plan for city crews to use Lockport's only remaining garbage truck to pick up yard waste this summer and haul it to Krantz Recycling Center on Smith Road in Amherst.

Krantz wouldn't pay the city for the material, Pasceri said, but the city would see savings by not having to landfill the yard waste. If the Council approves, collections would occur in the first and third weeks of each month, through August.

The pickups would not include grass clippings, although residents are allowed to put them in their garbage totes. Pasceri said the city would prefer that people mulch or compost the clippings.

The fall leaf pickup would not be affected; city crews still would haul leaves to the city's own composting plant, Pasceri said.

However, she hopes the city will use the roughly $70,000 that it obtained by auctioning most of its garbage trucks to buy a "pull-behind leaf sucker" to make collecting leaves easier.

The city's current leaf system involves six workers using front-end loaders and dump trucks.