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Developer’s offer for land prompts discussion on grim state of Lackawanna commerce

A $3,000 offer from an Orchard Park developer for a parcel of land on Ridge Road in Lackawanna sparked a discussion among lawmakers Tuesday night on the grim state of commerce in the city.

“Between Dorrance Avenue and Martin Road, there are 17 vacant storefronts,” said 3rd Ward Councilman Joseph L. Jerge. “There are more closed than there are open. We’re trying to get a fast-food chain in there that would create commerce and jobs. It would bring a different dynamic to that corner.”

The vacant land at 1266 Ridge Road would be used to facilitate the sale of 1311 Abbott Road for development of a new business, City Assessor Frank E. Krakowski said in a rare appearance at a City Council meeting.

The 36-by-130-foot parcel is assessed at $13,000, said Krakowski, who received the purchase offer from Kim R. Krog. Krakowski said he would recommend selling the vacant property for $5,000.

“I became the negotiator,” Krakowski answered. “The Council has the final say.”

“Thank you for being here,” Jerge said to Krakowski. “It’s great when you have something on the agenda you’re here. But my issue is that we don’t do a great job of communication.”

“This is a major thoroughfare,” Jerge said. “The money it will generate in taxes will more than make up for the amount we are forgiving.”

Jerge also reminded the Council about the need for a reverter clause in the sale of city property for business development.

“We need to know they will break ground in X amount of months,” Jerge said. “Let’s put some life in strip because life will breed life.”

The council tabled the recommendation from Krakowski for study.

In other business, the Council unanimously approved the purchase of a 2016 Ford F250 Super Cab from Chautauqua County. The cost of $32,964.63 would be taken from the Capital Fund Account and would benefit the Department of Public Works and its plowing efforts of municipal parking lots.

Councilwoman Annette Iafallo of the 2nd Ward, who at the last meeting requested a sidewalk in front of the Lackawanna Public Library to improve safety for people crossing Ridge Road, asked for an update from Public Works Commissioner Anthony DeSantis.

“We’re looking at $100,000,” DeSantis said. “That’s with flashing light, crosswalk and the engineering part, which is making it handicapped-accessible.”