Village Board approves proposals, as well as Frontier House renovation plan
By Joshua Maloni
With summer weather motivating more people to eat outdoors, more outdoor seating along Center Street is in the works.
The Village of Lewiston Board approved two design plans at the monthly board meeting on Monday.
•Lewiston Stone House
Lewiston Stone House owner Emery Simon intends to build a patio in front of his bar and restaurant at 755 Center St. Plans call for seating of about 20 guests inside of a gated rectangle atop the existing sidewalk. Simon will add a new, larger walkway behind the seating area, replacing what is now a small section of grass.
Following the meeting, he said, “We want to give people more seating; we want to give them the availability to sit out in front, enjoy the atmosphere of being on the street. Some people like to be on the street; some people like to be inside the patio; some people like to be in the back, hidden from everything.
“We’re trying to give everybody an opportunity for what they want. With everything changing (due to the coronavirus outbreak) … we are trying to create and grow our theme of getting away from it all and relaxing.”
Architect Jim Fittante said the new concrete sidewalk will be 6 feet wide. He also noted the gate’s half-dozen posts will be heavy-duty bollards, and its two end sections will be removed in the winter. An electrical pole and an ailing tree will likely be removed.
“This looks good – it’s basically what the Cask + Cow has done with their seating outside,” Mayor Anne Welch said.
“It looks nice,” she added.
Simon, who also owns and operates Simon Construction Co., will oversee the process. He said the gate will be decorative, but also strong enough to withstand a vehicle strike.
Moreover, “There’s a lot of structural/infrastructure issues,” he said. “We’ve got to move gas lines. There’s some main issues that we need to deal with when we do it.
“It’s not going to be just a quick and easy thing. But we’re gonna do it; we’re gonna make it look nice; we’re gonna make it look right; and we’re gonna make it so it lasts for a long time.”
His ideal timeline for opening is mid-to-late-July.
Board members OK’d the plan, contingent on Simon also securing approval from the New York State Department of Transportation for use of the right-of-way. As Center Street is state-owned, the state DOT gets the final say.
Simon also is installing a larger safety gate at the end of his driveway, so as to protect guests using the event tent. The doors will be locked, with Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1 having a key to access the grounds should fire or medical services be necessary.
Carmelo’s owner and chef Carmelo Raimondi was given permission to add a patio to the space on the “Allstate side” of his restaurant.
“We’re looking to expand our capacity,” he said. “It would be to the right of Carmelo’s and it takes about 425 square-feet.”
He explained brick pavers will match the sidewalk brick. A removable white picket fence will further enclose the eating area. Pointed tarps, lights, flowers and a door matching the main building’s front door will add to the design.
“So, it will look like a European bistro,” Deputy Mayor Vic Eydt said.
“Exactly,” Raimondi replied.
He also oversaw exterior enhancements to his restaurant prior to the pandemic. Raimondi said he was considering additional outdoor seating when COVID-19-related restrictions reinforced the need for expansion.
“It will give me about eight to 10 more tables,” he said of the patio.
“Looking forward to seeing it,” Welch said.
“I think it’s a great idea, and I think it’s overdue,” Eydt said.
“It will be the best little alley in the village,” Marasco said.
The Village Board approved the Frontier House renovation plan Fittante presented last week to both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Board.
Marasco asked him for a copy of drawings and guidelines approved by the New York State Historic Preservation Office and historic registries, when they become available.
“That’s our next step,” Fittante said of working with those entities. He added, “They’re going to be way stricter than you guys are,” but noted the proposal has already received favorable feedback.
Welch noted, “Niagara County (Planning Board) did not want to see it, because it is a restoration; it is not a site plan. So, they do not have to look at it.”
She spotted builder Bill Game in the audience. He holds the mortgage for the ownership group consisting of Ellicott Development CEO Bill Paladino and developers Jeff and Jerry Williams.
“You’re glad to see that, right Bill?” Welch said.
“Yes I am. It’s been a long time,” Game replied.
“I know – tell me about it!” she said.
The five-floor building at 460 Center St., and almost one acre of land, was purchased in February 2019. The Frontier House has been closed to the public since December 2004.
“I’m excited to see this finally start,” Welch said. “If SHPO needs anything from us, you just have them give us a call.”
Jazz Festival Fundraiser
•Trustee Claudia Marasco said the Northwest Jazz Festival board is “going to do a little something, something” on Aug. 27-28 – what would’ve been Jazz Festival weekend.
“I think we’re going to hear a little bit of music, if we can pull this off,” she said. “It will be more of a fundraiser-type event. We’re not closing any streets or doing any of that. It’s just this idea of maybe people being able to hear some music – and so I think it will be a good thing.”
The 2021 Jazz Festival was canceled in March, as New York had not yet issued guidance on an outdoor event of this magnitude. A press release stated, in part, “The decision was made upon consideration of funding, logistics, contracts, operations and NYS guidelines/restrictions. The annual event is a free outdoor concert featuring over 150 musicians over the two-day festival with tens of thousands of attendees within a two-block section of Center Street in the Village of Lewiston. Over $150,000 is raised to host the festival each year through sponsorship, vendor fees and an annual fundraising event. While several large sponsors were on-board for this year, the magnitude of raising the funds for the free event is not attainable at this time.”
Niagara Falls USA Marathon
Trustees also approved the request from iRun WNY to host the inaugural Niagara Falls USA Marathon on April 30, 2022, along with 5K and half-marathon options.
As described in the agenda, the concept course would start and finish in Lewiston, while also traveling through Artpark and Niagara Falls to LaSalle Waterfront Park.
Organizer Paul Beatty said upward of a few thousand runners could participate.
Beatty explained he’s watched the Niagara River Greenway bike trail take root in recent years. He said a race like this, “Is just a really great, safe, nonintrusive opportunity to host what could be maybe one of the most spectacular runs around – with very minimal impact on the village and traffic flow and so forth.”
“I think this is great – just more for our little village,” Welch said.