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Town of Niagara hopes for payback on Army property

by jmaloni
Thu, Dec 15th 2011 07:00 am
Town of Niagara Supervisor Steve Richards shows a possible plan for use of the surplus former Army property on Porter Road, featuring extra airport parking, airport-related businesses and a four-star hotel. The site for the proposed hotel is at left on the plan.
Town of Niagara Supervisor Steve Richards shows a possible plan for use of the surplus former Army property on Porter Road, featuring extra airport parking, airport-related businesses and a four-star hotel. The site for the proposed hotel is at left on the plan.

by Susan Mikula Campbell

A four-star hotel and extra airport parking have been added to the possibilities for future use of the former U.S. Army Reserve Center and Area Maintenance Facility on Porter Road.

At Tuesday's Town of Niagara Town Board meeting, Supervisor Steve Richards said the transfer of the property to the town should be complete in 2012.

The Porter Road site, next to the Niagara Falls International Airport, was declared excess property in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure. The Town of Niagara Local Redevelopment Authority was formed to develop a reuse plan for the approximately 24-acre parcel.

Airport-related businesses have always been a part of the plan, with reuse of the huge hanger and some of the outbuildings on the property.

Richards said Tuesday that the town also has been contacted by a group interested in placing a four-star hotel at the site, and he expects to release more details by February or March.

More paid airport parking also is being considered - "that would bring revenue to the town immediately," he said.

Whatever the final plan, it should provide jobs and more revenue to the town coffers.

"One thing for sure, it's prime land, and we will have a choice in what is built there," Richards said.

In other matters:

•After a public hearing, the board approved the rezoning of property at 2600 Young St., from PR (parks and recreation) to R-3, then went on to approve the site plan request of the Buffalo-based Olmsted Center for Sight to build a 38-unit apartment complex on the property.

Milissa Acquard, Olmsted chief financial officer and chief operations officer, said the apartments would provide safe, affordable housing for the handicapped and expand the group's housing offerings into the senior citizen market. Construction of the two-story apartment building, the largest done by Olmsted, should begin in late 2012 or early 2013. Cost of development is expected to be in the $6 million range, she said.

Currently, Olmsted operates two other buildings in Niagara County, one in North Tonawanda and one in Lockport, among the six total it runs in Western New York, she said.

•The board approved a final site plan for the old Wal-Mart property at 5555 Porter Road, and taking 2.2 acres from the original 15.09 acres and adding it to the Sam's Club property next door, also owned by Wal-Mart, so the entrance on Porter Road can be revised.

•The board approved a $5,021.87 payment to Taser International for equipment for the town's police department.

•The town's 2012 reorganization meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9, in the community center in Veterans Memorial Park on Lockport Road.

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