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Voters To Decide Whether or Not

to Sell Unused School Property

The old junior high ceased classes in 1987. The district wants to sell it.

The Niagara Falls School District is holding a special referendum on December 4, seeking permission from voters to sell several vacant and unused properties it owns.

Because the District is a public entity, when it wants to sell or transfer property, the public has to vote to approve the sale. Polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

Voters are asked to vote yes or no on the sale of four separate property packages.

One: Whether to sell 607 Walnut Ave. the former administration building, and 543 Sixth St., a former warehouse, for $20,000 to Housing Visions, a Syracuse-based non-profit, for a proposed affordable housing plan. Housing Visions has projects in Utica, Lockport, Syracuse, and Auburn, NY.

Two: Whether to sell 1.6 acres of land on Jerauld and North avenues to the city for $1. Mayor Paul Dyster has asked the school district to give the city this property. The School District has no use for the land.

Three: Whether sell a .075-acre parcel that was part of the former Abate Elementary School sports field to the city for $1. The city is already maintaining the property and wants it. If approved this would formally conclude the agreement with the City.

Four: Whether to sell the former South Junior High School at 561 Portage Road to CB-Emmanuel Realty LLC for $66,000 for an affordable housing apartment/commercial project. The building has been vacant for 13 years. The 90-year-old former school closed in 1986. According to School Superintendent, Cynthia Bianco, if voters approve, "The building (will) either get developed or demolished without the burden being placed on school taxpayers."

CB-Emmanuel plans to renovate the building into 65 apartments and commercial space if it can arrange for financing and tax subsidies.

The developers paid the $66,000 purchase price to the district up front to offset the cost of the referendum. If the referendum fails, the school district keeps the money and the vacant school. School officials say they will not undertake to renovate it. Demolition has been estimated by school officials to be $1.3 million.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Nov 26, 2013