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Fate of vacant Erie County Home atop agenda in Alden

Alden Supervisor Harry F. Milligan sees the vacant Erie County Home as the town’s biggest issue right now.

The 650,000-square-foot former county nursing home has been empty since the beginning of March, when its role started being filled by an addition to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo. ECMC’s website still states that the Erie County Home is in Alden, and the phone number provided on the website is not in service.

Milligan is seeking help from the county to tear down the building.

“It’s just going to sit there and deteriorate unless we can work with the county to take it down and make an open area that is possibly sellable,” Milligan said of the building on Walden Avenue across from the Erie County Correctional Facility.

“The building has to be torn down. It’s too big for any other issue. Who’s going to go to a 650,000 square-foot area that has problems? The county has studied ways it can possibly use it, and nothing has been done. Nobody can use it, so it has to be torn down. It can’t just sit there and deteriorate.”

Milligan said that he attended several meetings with county officials to plan the removal of the building but that recently the county’s representatives have failed to schedule follow-up discussions.

A Buffalo News call to Erie County Legislator Terrence D. McCracken, D-Lancaster, was not immediately returned.

“We’ve had some meetings with them, but now the meetings have kind of stopped, and I’m wary of that,” Milligan said.

“Erie County had called the meetings, but now they aren’t calling them, and I keep calling” Erie County Commissioner of Environment and Planning Maria R. Whyte’s office “to see when the next meeting is, but there isn’t one right now.”

Milligan doesn’t see any use for the building and said that because it belongs to the county, the town has no authority to tear it down – and that even if it did, Alden couldn’t afford to do so.

“There might be somebody who doesn’t want to see it torn down, but if you have an answer, if you know something you can do with it, great,” Milligan said.

“Let me know. As of right now, it’s just a vacant building, just deteriorating.”

The Town Board had a meeting Monday. The members discussed problematic GPS navigation in the town. Milligan said trucks’ GPS incorrectly alert the drivers that the vehicles cannot make it under a bridge on Broadway, so they’re turning onto West Main Street.

The trucks clog up the small, two-lane road, and “bikers and kids walking have no place to go,” Milligan said. ‘We’re trying to get the state to put up a sign telling truckers what the actual height of the bridge is. The bridge is about 13 inches higher than the posted sign.’

The board’s next work session will take place at 7 p.m. Monday.