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Niagara Falls Planning Board OKs plans for new fieldhouse in LaSalle

NIAGARA FALLS – Plans for a new 22,000-square-foot athletic fieldhouse in LaSalle won approval Wednesday from the city’s Planning Board.

The proposal for the synthetic turf facility behind the former St. Dominic Savio Middle School on 66th Street comes from a partnership of the non-profit Niagara Community Center, Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club, Niagara Catholic and Niagara University.

Plans for the roughly 2-acre site call for a building that contains offices, restrooms, a fitness room and classrooms along with the field, which can be used for a variety of athletics. Among the planned activities, the Niagara Falls Boys & Girls Club plans to use the facility for various programs, including soccer, cheerleading, tennis and gymnastics, said Rebecca Vincheski, interim chief professional officer.

“We’re also looking to recruit kids from the area for a general afterschool program,” Vincheski said. In addition to the recreational opportunities, participants would get education in career development, leadership and the arts, she said.

The project got a height variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals in May. The site will have on-site parking and sit about 250 feet from the road, project sponsors said.

The Niagara Community Center is a recently formed non-profit that differs from the group that had been involved in the former center of the same name on Centre Avenue.

Once completed, the project will help alleviate some traffic issues in the area by allowing for a traffic loop, said architect Michael Mistriner of Cannon Design.

The Planning Board on Wednesday also approved Norampac’s plans to build a 32,000-square-foot building to replace one destroyed a massive September 2014 fire at the Packard Road facility. The structure is located at the start of the production line where raw materials for the paper mill are unloaded. The new building will be an exact replacement of what once stood at that location. One estimate for the project pegged the cost at $3.5 million, said Michael Balent, an engineer on the project.