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Crack in gym floor in Lockport to be filled with Yahoo’s money

LOCKPORT – A crack in the floor of the gymnasium at a Lockport school for troubled youth will finally be repaired, thanks in large part to Yahoo, the school said Wednesday.

New Directions Youth and Family Services, which operates the Wyndham Lawn Home for Children, was the recipient of a $40,000 grant from Yahoo this week, which will be applied to an estimated $75,000 makeover of the gym at Henrietta G. Lewis Campus School. A new floor is part of the plan.

“There’s a big crack down the middle of it that we’ve repeatedly tried to repair,” said Brad L. Sande, the school’s development director.

New basketball backboards and rims, volleyball standards and wall padding are also part of the plan. “After years of use, things wear out,” Sande said of the school, constructed in the 1970s. The school has about 100 students, counting both commuters and residents of the home.

The $40,000 grant was the largest of 11 Yahoo grants totaling $247,755 to Lockport-area groups and programs. The grants are part of a $3.5 million, seven-year commitment to local funding the Internet giant made in exchange for a hefty package of state and local incentives for its data and call centers in Lockport.

Last year’s inaugural round of 13 grants from the Yahoo Community Benefit Fund, administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, totaled $223,041. Later this summer, a new round of grants, expected to total about $500,000, are to be announced by Empire State Development.

There was controversy this spring over the latter grants, to be called the Yahoo Community Fund for Niagara County. Applicants from the City and Town of Lockport were deemed ineligible for those grants because Yahoo already had set aside the other fund exclusively for Lockport.

The Lockport Town Board and the Niagara County Legislature, at the behest of Lockport-area members, passed protest resolutions about that, but no changes in the preferences for the county-wide program resulted.

Both grant programs are to expire, along with Yahoo’s state tax credits, in 2021.

The newly announced grants for Lockport range from long-term investments to funding for short-term needs.

The Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers was awarded $38,000 for “Back on Track,” a support program to be targeted to 30 Lockport-area inmates in the Niagara County Jail in hopes of reducing the chance they will return to crime after their release.

Lockport Main Street, a not-for-profit agency promoting downtown business, was granted $35,000 for marketing and event support.

The Isaiah 61 Project, a program operating in Niagara Falls, was given $25,000 to fund its planned entry into Lockport. The faith-based group tries to teach construction trades by using the unemployed to repair run-down housing.

The Western New York Land Conservancy, which has begun a Niagara Escarpment Preserve off Leete Road in Lockport, received $26,000 to enhance the grassland and woodland habitat there and provide environmental education.

The Challenger Learning Center, located at Harrison Place in Lockport, was awarded $15,658 to complete its science education facility, a space mission simulator aimed at school-age children.

The Lockport Elks Lodge won $15,000 to fund Camp Happiness, a summer camp in Somerset for special-needs children and young adults, in 2017.

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Lockport was awarded $14,500 to buy a new freezer and refrigerator for Sister Helen’s Food Pantry.

Heart of Niagara Animal Rescue was awarded $14,431 to renovate a garage into a multipurpose room to train animals while providing better laundry facilities for the volunteers.

The Historic Lockport Mill Race Corp., formed by two local doctors who want to renovate the old Electric Building at the Lockport locks into a museum and events center, was awarded $14,000.

Friends of the Lockport Public Library received $10,166 to buy 13 new laptop computers for the library.


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