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Blasdell to demolish blighted property

BLASDELL — Nearly four years after being deemed unsafe, a problematic property in Blasdell is being scheduled for demolition. At its July 17 meeting, the village board approved an agreement between the village and Hannah Demolition to knock down the dilapidated structure at 34 Lake Ave., a site that had drawn the ire of neighbors and Blasdell officials for some time. The cost of the demolition will not exceed $10,000, an amount significantly lower than a sum proposed two years ago.

“We’re glad to see it go down,” Blasdell Mayor Michael Petrie said of the site, which had been identified as unsafe by code enforcement officers in late summer 2010, per Blasdell Village Code.

Village Deputy Mayor Lou McDonald echoed that sentiment, adding, “Take it down already.”

During a September 2013 meeting of the village board, a Lake Avenue resident said the unattended property at 34 Lake Ave. had holes in the roof, an overgrown yard and various animals’ frequenting the area. She added that her numerous calls to the county’s health department had not led to solutions, due to responses indicating that a property with no owner present to admit health officials could not be tended to further.

A snag in the proceedings had been Blasdell finding funds to conduct a demolition of the vacant structure. At that time, McDonald had said that he had sought the services of the Buffalo Erie Niagara Land Improvement Corporation, which is part of the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and “supports municipal and regional revitalization efforts by acquiring, improving and selling distressed, vacant, abandoned and/or tax-delinquent properties.”

However, the two-year wait resulted in a more affordable demolition cost. Funds associated with the takedown project will be rebated to the village, at a future date.

Blasdell officials have also had their eye on another structure with long-standing safety and aesthetic issues, located at 3705 South Park Ave. Blasdell Attorney James Shaw stated, during the July 17 meeting, that recommendations by Town of Hamburg Assistant Code Enforcement Officer Joseph Boncore have yielded the belief that Blasdell officials should embrace a presented plan moving forward by the original site owners to sell the property. Shaw added that seeking further action against the existing site owners would not be productive; rather, embracing a plan with new owners making the property code-compliant is beneficial.

McDonald cited the need for property owners in Blasdell to take more pride in site upkeep, mentioning a variety of problematic issues that have arisen. Broken windows, vehicles parked in property areas without license plates, and garbage being left near the curb for too-long periods of time are just some of the problems, according to the deputy mayor.

“It’s visible when you walk down the street and it’s making our village look crappy,” said McDonald.

Village resident Scott Espinosa noted foul language and other behavior coming from certain tenants, who are also stated as sometimes looking suspicious in terms of scoping out personal property of others.

“We’re aware of it,” Petrie said, in response. “Sometime you have [lackadaisical] landlords.”

The mayor also encouraged residents to call the Blasdell Police Department in any instance in which a person feels threatened or believes questionable behavior is taking place.

In other matters, Petrie stated that the Blasdell Volunteer Fire Department is seeking new members. Currently, the cost per call is under $240.

Village Trustee Kathy Seufert King stated that Saturday, Aug. 16 will feature the Blasdell Days celebration, taking place at Firemen’s Park. A wheelbarrow race will occur at 3 p.m., followed by food being sold at 4 p.m. and live bands performing at 5 p.m. Alcohol will not be served, but residents are allowed to bring coolers, as well.

In other board matters:

– The board appointed Graig Leone and Jason Converse as part-time police officers in the Blasdell Police Department.

– The resignations of Kevin Biggs, John Keem and Robert Gawlak as part-time officers from the police department were accepted. Petrie thanked the trio for their services provided to the village, including the longtime tenure of Gawlak in Blasdell.

– The resignation of longtime fire department member Dennis Fox, effective Sept. 26, was accepted.

– The board authorized an agreement between the village and Connie D. Miner & Co. for grant writing services in an amount not to exceed $15,000; as well as one between Blasdell and Erie County Stop DWI, and an agreement authorizing Catholic Charities using the Blasdell Community Center.

– Village Clerk Administrator Janet L. Plarr was authorized to attend the NYCOM Fall Training School from Sept. 15-19; and Court Clerk Marie Falzone will attend the New York State Association of Magistrates Court Clerks Annual Fall Conference, Sept. 28 - Oct. 1.

The board’s next meeting of the Blasdell Village Board will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 at the Village Municipal Building.
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