Assistance to remove debris following Falconer fire sought

MAYVILLE – The removal of debris following a devastating fire earlier this year in the village of Falconer might soon get county assistance.

The board of the Chautauqua County Land Bank, at a meeting Wednesday in Mayville, discussed the potential collaboration with the village to help remove debris from 29-39 W. Main St. The building was destroyed following a blaze March 22, and later deemed arson by police.

Jamestown resident Jonathan Young was later charged with arson for allegedly setting the Falconer blaze as well as several others in the city. He is currently jailed in Butler, Pa., for reportedly setting fire to a property not long after the string of arsons broke out locally.

“As you know, the arsonist who struck in Jamestown, also burned down a large apartment complex in the village of Falconer,” said Gina Paradis, executive director of the land bank, the county organization that manages and repurpose abandoned and foreclosed properties.

The Main Street property in Falconer was demolished earlier this year, though the lot still contains the debris. Paradis described the situation as “messy.”

The property currently has two owners, with the village only able to assume control of half the property in order to move forward with debris removal. After a brief discussion on the matter, the land bank decided that it wasn’t ready to make a decision on the property.

Board members said the village would need to assume control on at least half of the property before the land bank could provide assistance.

In other matters Wednesday, the land bank sold properties at 196 Liberty St. in Fredonia and 135 Willow St. in Dunkirk to new owners. Paradis said that the Liberty Street transaction was one of the quickest turn-arounds from acquisition to sale. She said six potential buyers expressed interest in the property, forcing the board to choose a new owner.

The property was sold for $56,500.

“This has turned out to be one of our most profitable sales in land bank history,” Paradis said.

The Willow Street property received three offers before being sold to Add Lumber, which offered a “more enticing offer,” Paradis said.