Niagara River Greenway: Village, town officials meeting Monday to address Piper Law Officeby jmaloni
by Joshua Maloni
Representatives of the Town and Village of Lewiston will meet Monday to discuss funding for the Historic Piper Law Office and Welcome Center. The Host Community Standing Committee informed both parties this week that Greenway money should be allocated to the project via a sponsor, if at all.
"I don't think there's going to be any problem," Village Board Trustee Terry Collesano said on Friday. "I think we're going to get our money."
Village Mayor Bill Geiben and grant writer Bernie Rotella pitched the Greenway Commission last month on providing $54,000 to complete renovations to the Piper building. Commissioners endorsed the proposal, which then went to the Host Community Standing Committee for funding.
Collesano said he was told the project would need a backer. The village elected to ask the town for support.
Supervisor Steve Reiter said he would speak with Geiben, Collesano and Rotella about the welcome center.
"I'm sure, as a result of our future communications, that we'll be able to come to an agreement with the village to help fund their project," he said.
Collesano said the committee spearheading the Piper refurbishment, of which he is a member, is eager to continue working on the 175-year-old building.
"We're just ready to go," he said. "We're just sitting on our hands right now."
A corporate donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently provided capital for the former law office's carpentry.
"That's going to be a huge relief for us," Collesano said.
Funding is currently in place, he said, for the roof, electrical work and heating.
The Piper team is currently reviewing bids for landscaping. Collesano said $15,000 of the $54,000 would be earmarked for improving the Piper grounds.
Village resident Claudia Marasco is one of the committee members working on that facet of the building's repair. She said, "I really want the landscaping project to be historically developed."
Shrubs and perennials will resemble the flower work seen in the 1800s. Marasco said natural stone leftover from the remodel would also be re-incorporated into the landscape, and pavers currently used throughout the village would be added, too.
"We're excited to see what (the final design is) going to be," Marasco said.
Work also will go into the Piper porch - including a handicap ramp - and U.S. and Canadian flags will be flown off the building.
Collesano is hopeful the welcome center will open to the public later this summer.
"We're still shooting for the weekend of the Peach Festival (Sept. 10-12)," he said. Work will likely continue past that point, but Collesano said he would be happy if the center is at least open by then.
"I think we can," he said.
•Reiter said the Host Community Standing Committee awarded the Town of Lewiston a little more than $800,000 for three projects: the Kiwanis Park playground, the Sanborn "Main Street" streetscape project, and an addition to the Sanborn Area Historical Society Farm Museum.
A fourth project, the Lewiston Plateau Dog Park and Nature Preserve, was tabled. The Standing Committee said the proposal hadn't met the 90-day review period prerequisite. Reiter said the Host Community would review the project again on June 18.
•The State Parks Standing Committee approved funding for the comfort stations at Fort Niagara State Park ($560,000) and Four Mile State Park ($540,000).
For more information on the Greenway projects presented, visit http://tinyurl.com/NFPGreenway.
The Host Community Standing Committee is comprised of delegates from the Niagara Power Coalition - Niagara County, the Town of Lewiston, the City of Niagara Falls, the Town of Niagara, and the Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Falls and Niagara-Wheatfield school districts - as well as the New York Power Authority.