This just in: Hamister to break ground. Maybe. Possibly. Or maybe not.

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Chairman Andrew Touma has heard a rumor: Hamister may break ground one day soon.

The Reporter, in its December 30 print edition, stuck the proverbial fork in the hind end of the Hamister hotel project as we called it “deader than dead.” The very next day council chairman Andrew Touma appeared on the Vince Anello radio show to say, during his one hour visit, that the Hamister hotel could potentially break ground within coming weeks.

Chairman Touma told Joe Schiro, an Anello caller, when Schiro mentioned the moribund Hamister project: “Joe, multiply your frustration by ten times and that’s my frustration” with the Hamister arrangement. The chairman then said he had heard there may be a Hamister ground breaking coming soon. The show’s host chuckled at the thought of a purported winter construction start. But the Hamister deal stopped being amusing a long time ago.

The project was selected more than two years ago for fast track development on a prime piece of downtown land as it kicked up a whirlwind of political dust never before seen in the history of the city. The Hamister frenzy hit a high when Governor Cuomo weighed in during the 2013 council race to help drive Sam Fruscione from office. And out of office Fruscione went. But the Hamister project never developed as promised and it remains one more Dyster administration mystery defying public transparency.

And here we are many months later with elected officials tossing off throwaway lines like, “I heard it may break ground in coming weeks.”  Only in Niagara Falls does this nonsense pass for accountability and good government.


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