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Brocton, Land Bank partnering to remove blight

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano Brocton’s iconic and historic arch is seen at the “four corners” of the downtown area Tuesday. Village of Brocton and Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp. officials will be working together to demolish 10 and 14 E. Main St., visible behind the arch on the left. They will also work to renovate the former Green Arch restaurant at 41 W. Main St.

MAYVILLE — Village of Brocton and Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp. officials will be working together to demolish two blighted properties and renovate a third.

The Chautauqua County Legislature approved last week a resolution to give Brocton officials 10 E. Main St. so it can be demolished along with the property at 14 E. Main St., which the village already owns. With funding provided to the land bank by the state Office of Attorney General, but properties, which share a party wall, will be demolished by the land bank for possible redevelopment by the village.

Also, the county will sell the property at 41 W. Main St., which used to be the Green Arch Restaurant, to the land bank for $12,539, which is the total of back taxes owed on the property. The land bank will then market the property for possible redevelopment.

During the legislature meeting, Mark Odell, R-Brocton, thanked land bank officials, Brad Bentley, county public works director, and Mark Geise, county economic development deputy executive director, for their work in removing the blighted properties, which has been ongoing for more than a decade, for potential redevelopment in the village.

During the legislature Administrative Services Committee meeting last month, Geise said 10 E. Main St. has been falling down for a long time and is kind of pulling everything down, which includes the adjoining building at 14 E. Main St., which used to be Cave’s Deli.

“Everything was unsafe and it needs to be demolished,” Geise said.

Geise said the county Land Bank will try to redevelop the former Green Arch Restaurant instead of the property going to the county tax foreclosure auction.

“The land bank really does negotiate sales so instead of the Green Arch just going through the auction — it goes to the highest bidder and you get what you get and you cross your fingers — it’s going to go to the land bank,” he said. “The land bank is going to pay the back taxes and then they are going to do a negotiated sale. So they are going to put it on the market and as with other cases, it’s not always the highest bidder. It’s who’s going to do the right thing. Who’s going to come in, make the investment and open it back up as a restaurant.”

Geise said there is interest from three different entities in possibly redeveloping the former Green Arch Restaurant property.

In other business, the legislature approved a resolution to repair the courthouse elevator for $165,000, which will include modernizing the 1960s unit with new mechanical parts.

During the legislature Public Facilities Committee meeting, Bentley said the elevator is utilized by court security to securely transport inmates from the jail to the courthouse. He said this is the only nonpublic path to the courthouse from the jail.

“We had a recent failure of the elevator that demonstrated some security concerns for the personnel,” Bentley said. “I think it kind of speaks for itself if you’re a security personnel with someone from the jail and the elevator stops working, that’s probably not a good situation to have as well as permanent failure of the elevator would require some significant changes to how prisoner would get from the jail to courthouse and going through public areas of this building. So, it’s just not a good thing to do.”

Bentley said the repair will consist of keeping the elevator shaft and car. He said all the wiring and mechanicals that are used to lift the elevator and all the controls of the elevator will be modernized so parts can be purchased for possible future repairs. New equipment and work to be done includes the elevator machine room equipment; new controller, battery and pump down in the basement; new machine wiring; retained and refurbished oil lines as needed; a new door operator will be installed; retain and refurbish car door; equipment; existing place for a door equipment; retain and refurbish tracks; new interlock assembly; pick-up rollers; elevator cab interior; and addition work to bring the elevator up to code.

Bentley said the work to renovate the elevator shouldn’t take too long, but it will need to be coordinated with the court schedule.

“Obviously, we can’t have the elevator out of service while they have court in session,” he said.

The legislature also approved creating a capital funding account for the Welch Trail Recreation Area project.

During a legislature Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting, Don McCord, county director of planning and community development, said the design phase for the trail is currently ongoing. He said trail construction should start this spring.

He added it is a 1.25 mile trail in the Westfield area near the former Portage Inn.

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