Newsmaker of the month: STEL has solid track record for project

Pictured is a drawing of the proposed senior housing to be constructed where the former Silver Creek High School is located. Plans call for the former school to be torn down and the apartment complex to be built at that location.

Southern Tier Environments for Living appears ready to tackle one of its biggest projects in decades: the old Silver Creek school building that not only is an eyesore, but a potential hazard to those in the neighborhood.

Last week, Allen Handelman with Park Grove Realty in Rochester and Ashley Switzer with STEL discussed the project. They are seeking assistance from the county Industrial Development Agency through tax breaks and Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreements.

Handelman said they would like to demolish the building, which has been vacant for possibly 40 years, and construct 54 apartments for senior citizens. “We’ve been through it. Others have been through it. It’s past its life cycle and then beyond,” he said.

That’s an understatement.

For village of Silver Creek, town of Hanover and Chautauqua County officials, the building has been an albatross. A total reconstruction on the site makes sense, knowing the structure’s deteriorating condition as well as the need for senior housing, a demographic that continues to grow in an otherwise decreasing population.

As for the confidence in STEL taking on the project, look to the past. This agency has done wonders in the city of Dunkirk. Housing projects near the Main Street sector of the city have not only improved the look of neighborhoods, they also have brought increased pride.

Don’t forget, in the early 2000s, STEL also took on the old Cardinal Mindszenty building that now adds character to the 700 block of the Central Avenue section of the city.

STEL’s interest and work on this plot is just beginning. That being said, they are a legitimate partner in this effort.


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