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Article and Photos by Michael J. Billoni
Senior Contributing Writer
James J. Panepinto, president of a 91-year-young family business, Pinto Construction Services Inc., and a long-time member of the Mary Star of the Seas Knights of Columbus Council No. 4752, has purchased the club building at 1841 Whitehaven Road, and the nearly nine acres of land behind it.
The building had served as the home to the council since January 1967. The club’s name came from the former Mary Star of the Sea Church that was located at Orchard and Ferry roads, and served families in the Ferry Village before they had cars. The bell from that church is in the clubhouse, and its cornerstone is in the St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church sanctuary.
Financial pressures, especially as a result of the nearly three-year coronavirus pandemic, forced club officials to quietly put the property up for sale.
According to real estate records obtained through the Erie County Clerk’s Office, the sale closed on Tuesday.
Members of the Grand Island Catholic Club board of directors are reserving comment until after a statement is presented during Masses this weekend at St. Stephen Church.
James J. Panepinto, president of Pinto Construction, and a partner purchased the Knights of Columbus building and land.
“About a year ago, I learned that there were some interested parties in the property, but were unable to consummate a deal,” Panepinto said. “At that point, we expressed interest. My partner and I brokered a deal with them, and we were confident it would close.”
“At this point, I do not have any plans for the building or the land,” he added. “Sometimes when a property becomes available, and it is the right time and the right place, you make the investment. We look at this deal as a positive step for the council, and it gives myself and my business partner an opportunity to develop a nice piece of property.”
Panepinto expressed interest in an idea proposed by the Island Dispatch. A contest asking town residents what they would like to see developed or built on the nearly nine acres of land that goes north to the Sidway School bus garage from the building’s frontage on Whitehaven Road.
Return the coupon at bottom to the Dispatch, 1859 Whitehaven Road, by Wednesday, April 19.
The land behind the building, which goes back to the Sidway School bus garage
A tribute to Mary Star of the Sea near the club’s entrance
What would you like to see at 1841 Whitehaven Road?
Return this coupon to the Island Dispatch by April 26 and enter to win one of the following available prizes:
•Dinner for two at Zobud Bistro, 1879 Whitehaven Road;
•A $100 gift card to Colvin Cleaners; or
•Four Buffalo Bisons tickets on the third baseline for any Fridaynightbash this season.