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$1 million in state funds lined up for Town of Niagara first-response center

TOWN OF NIAGARA – State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, has announced that $500,000 in state funds have been secured for planning, designing and construction of a proposed Western New York First Response and Preparedness Center.

The funding announced on Monday is in addition to $500,000 in capital funding secured by Ortt last summer. State funding is not allowed to exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project.

The facility will be located at the former Niagara Falls U.S. Army Reserve Center at 9400 Porter Road. The transformation of the vacant property would be overseen by the Town of Niagara and Niagara County as a joint partnership with stakeholders from across the state. The 19-acre site includes more than 150,00 square feet of building space, including a 34,000-square-foot aircraft hanger.

It is located just a few miles away from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station and Niagara Falls International Airport. Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace gave his approval to the project plan and said it also would help with efforts to retain the air base.

The plan is for the facility to serve as an emergency operations hub in the Town of Niagara for natural disasters, weather-related issues or national security threats, as well as a training facility for first responders, law enforcement and community organizations.