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‘Better future’ nearing: Senior housing project targets fall demolition

OBSERVER File Photo Demolition of the former Silver Creek School site on Main Street is targeted for late October of this upcoming fall.

SILVER CREEK — Mayor Jeff Hornburg once said of the long-awaited development of the former Silver Creek School site on Main Street, “I won’t get excited until I see the bulldozers.”

Apparently, this fall will be an exciting time in the village.

Demolition of the former Silver Creek school building is targeted for Oct. 29, according to Thomas Whitney, Executive Director at Southern Tier Environments for Living, Inc. (STEL).

A new 54-unit apartment community, for residents ages 62 years and older, will be constructed at the site of the former school. The building will be comprised of 51 single-bedroom units and 3 two-bedroom units. People, Inc. will be responsible for administering support services for these 15 units.

“We look forward to developing a beautiful building that the people of Silver Creek will be proud of,” Whitney said.

Plans for a new 54-unit apartment community, for residents ages 62 years and older, will be constructed at the site of the former Silver Creek School on Main Street in the village.

The project meets the State’s Senior Housing State Goal allowing low-income seniors to live independently within the community. It also meets the goals of Community Renewal and Revitalization, as well as Workforce Opportunity State Housing. The project has received a conditional award from NYS Department of Health.

Earlier this spring, state Sen. George Borrello celebrated that the project is receiving $6.9 million in state funding to make the village’s housing dreams into a reality. Whitney confirmed that the Village’s Restore New York grant in the amount of $1 million is still applicable to the project. The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency also approved the necessary tax breaks for the project to proceed.

“We have been working on this project for many years, and it has certainly been challenging,” said Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and CEO of the CCIDA. “That being said, we never gave up hope that we could someday see a better future for the site.”

STEL anticipates closing on funding from the New York State Homes and Community Renewal Program by Oct. 15, along with financing for the required construction of the facility. Two weeks later, demolition is set to begin and construction of the new facility will follow. STEL hopes to complete construction and begin to fill the space with tenants beginning in January of 2026.

While Hornburg and the residents of Silver Creek and Hanover have plenty of reason to be excited now, the hesitation Hornburg was certainly warranted. A similar project was previously set to proceed with Region 9 before issues arose associated with keeping the current structure. The new project requires a full demolition of the current building, which has remained vacant for decades with a litany of structural concerns.

OBSERVER Photo by Braden Carmen Hanover Town Supervisor Lou Pelletter has stressed the importance of a senior housing facility in the Silver Creek/Hanover region for many years.

Hanover Town Supervisor Lou Pelletter was proud to issue a strong statement of support of the project earlier this year.

“I would Iike to express my strong support for the Silver Creek Senior Housing project, proposed by Southern Tier Environments for Living, lnc. and Park Grove Development, LLC,” Pelletter said. “I have repeatedly suggested and supported senior housing with first-floor amenities at 60 Main Street, Silver Creek, NY, since the building closed in 1979.”

Citing the demographics of the area and the limited availability of senior housing in the vicinity, Pelletter stressed the importance of the project. He added that the limited housing availability has led seniors to leave the community to seek adequate housing and services elsewhere.

“With large senior populations in Silver Creek and the Town of Hanover, we have needed affordable housing with easily accessible related services for an extended period of time,” Pelletter said.

Addressing the project earlier this spring, Whitney said, “It is very rewarding to see this project within reach after so many years and dedication by so many people. From the beginning until now, we have worked with four Silver Creek mayors, three county executives, county legislators and several interested developers. While there is still much work to be completed before we cross the finish line, everyone who has been involved over the years can take pride in what has been achieved.”

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