Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

December 28, 2013

City borrowing to demolish Kohl's

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — In the face of a financial crunch, the City of Lockport will borrow $650,000 to pay off the cost of demolishing the former Kohl’s Cycle Sales building.

The building, once located at 71 Gooding St., was demolished in the summer after it was heavily damaged in a July 30 fire. The 53,360-square-foot stone building was taken down by Mark Cerrone Inc., a Niagara Falls-based construction company.

Using the 10-year bond to pay off the cost of demolition wasn’t much of a choice for the city, which had close to no fund balance, according to an audit report from the New York State Comptroller’s Office, released last week. The Common Council approved the borrowing at last week’s meeting.

And prior to the fire, Lockport had obtained a state grant to raze the Kohl’s building, but the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation blocked that from happening. Which meant the grant wouldn’t help with the cost.

“That grant is gone, so the city had to incur the cost,” said Mayor Michael W. Tucker. “That would’ve covered the demolition, but we had to turn it back in.”

The Kohl Cycle building is listed in city records as being built in 1875, but it’s believed to be older because it’s built from hand-cut canal stone. The three-story structure was in terrible shape prior to the fire, which is why the city tried to take it down before.

After the fire, the state Historic Preservation Office, which has authority over municipalities’ designs on old buildings, gave approval for the emergency demolition.

The City of Lockport’s new station on the Medina Railroad Museum’s tourist train line is located at 5 Gooding St., right next to the former Kohl’s site.

Access to the platform and parking will be provided on property owned by the Hydraulic Race Co., the company that owns the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.