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Future uses for 5 key Batavia properties discussed

BATAVIA – Residents of a city already pursuing home and business improvements had an opportunity Monday to discuss future uses for five key properties.

A public meeting in City Hall drew a large and attentive audience.

The Batavia Area Opportunity project is seeking ideas for redevelopment of these properties:

• The Batavia City Center, a one-time mall now largely occupied by medical services, and the adjacent Bank Street medical campus, the former St. Jerome Hospital housing diagnostic services, family care and four floors of apartments for seniors

• The Harvester Center, formerly the Massey-Harris farm implement maker with a complex of two dozen buildings, the largest in use as an incubator for start-up businesses

• The vacant Della Penna building that a contractor took over from Niagara Mohawk years ago and is near downtown

• Tonawanda Creekside redevelopment for recreation on part of the stream within walking distance of downtown

• Carr’s Department Store warehouse, where a local developer is finalizing designs with hopes for business space and apartments in the three-story structure in a downtown alley.

The public input will be weighed by a six-member steering committee of city and county planners who presented potential scenarios Monday based on economic and marketing analyses of the sites and adjacent neighborhoods.

In recent years, the city has used grants and loans to restore residential neighborhoods, while downtown has a new face with trees, shrubs and flowers along three blocks of sidewalks and medians.