Weekly Feature

2016-05-26 / Front Page

Village of Lancaster looks to revive itself


The Lancaster Village Board resolved on Monday to support a “Downtown Revitalization Initiative.”

This initiative will be aided by the efforts of the NYS Regional Economic Development Councils. The plan will involve repairing and improving storefronts, sidewalks and areas in the village that have been neglected in recent years in an effort to make them more visually appealing for customers and potential business owners. A local DRI planning commission will be formed to oversee the plan.

“We have some grant money coming in, so we’re going to redo the façade of all the buildings, the sidewalks, the lampposts,” Lancaster Village Mayor Paul Maute said. “We’ll go from there. We’re trying to bring in more business. Anything that doesn’t look well, we’re going to try to fix it up and make it look better. We want to bring some customers, business owners, residents. We’re trying to make it a walkable village.”

Additionally, the board discussed the issue of “zombie” houses — properties that have been abandoned or foreclosed on. Assemblyman Michael Kearns has been heavily focused on the issue of late.

According to Code Enforcement Officer Sean Marshall, there are 32 such properties in the Village of Lancaster. The board would like to improve on that in the near future.

“We’ve been looking into that for a long time, so we are trying to do something about it,” Maute said. “Sean has a handle on it. It’s not like it’s being let go. The problem is it keeps resurfacing. At one point there were 54; now we’re down to 32. It can be hard to contact the owners — some live in Florida, some rent. It can be hard to get ahold of them.”

The board and committee members will meet with Alan Springett, a Federal Emergency Management Agency representative, to discuss the Cayuga Creek levees and FEMA’s Levee Analysis and Mapping Procedures process.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 2, in the second floor assembly hall of the Municipal Building.

“It’s to kind of give us an update of what’s going on with the FEMA program — flood zones, simple things like that. He’s more educated than all of us so he’s going to come here and give us a presentation on what’s going on with our FEMA grant and the flood zones.”

The board approved a correspondence from Gwen Cassidy and Frank Maddock to invite Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz to observe the conditions at Como Park Lake. Maute hopes Poloncarz’s getting a closer look at the state of the park will inspire him to take action

“If you take a look at Como Park, it’s a mess,” Maute said. “I know that the island in the middle of the park is not going to be taken care of for another couple of years. We just want to invite him out to show him what we see. We want to see what he can do for us.”

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