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Lockport schedules public planning session for ideas on downtown

LOCKPORT – Citizens with ideas on how to improve conditions and offerings in downtown Lockport will have a chance to voice them Saturday.

A design workshop to be held in the Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., will offer the opportunity to discuss current issues and make suggestions about what the business district and the area along the Erie Canal ought to look like.

“We’re looking for direction,” said R. Charles Bell, city planning and development director. “Maybe the current mix of businesses and properties is what the community wants, but I doubt that’s what we’re going to find.”

Andy Raus of Bergmann Associates, the company’s principal planner, will be on hand to facilitate the session.

The effort is funded by a $370,000 grant the city received last year from the state Brownfields Opportunity Program, and Raus said that same program might supply some funding to implement the best ideas hatched on Saturday.

“The recommendations in the plan become more eligible for state funding,” Raus said.

He said the existence of a master plan for downtown also “might make the city more competitive for other grant funds.”

“We have to look at what’s going to be realistic,” Bell said. “We try not to make it pie in the sky.”

The day’s events are to begin at 10 a.m. with a walking tour of the canal area, weather permitting.

At 11 a.m., Bergmann consultants will be on hand in the Dale Association for an open house.

“People who only have time to stop by for five or 10 minutes will be able to talk one-on-one with a consultant,” Raus said.

“That’s going to continue all the way to 4 o’clock.”

Those planning to attend on Saturday are asked to sign up online at