Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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March 5, 2013

welcome home

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Partners in the development of Lockport Canal Homes gathered Thursday to celebrate the rebirth of community.

Technically, the event at Genesee and Pine streets was a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the completion of Housing Visions’ first home-building project in Lockport.

But for the dozens of people who attended, from Syracuse-based Housing Visions, Lockport Neighborhood Revitalization Inc., the YWCA of Niagara, City Hall, supporting state agencies, the private sector and the immediate neighborhood, it’s not the end of a nine-house/30-apartment-unit construction project that warrants a celebration.

It’s the effect that construction has had on a three-block area once considered the seediest place in the city.

The return on Housing Visions’ $8.6 million investment is equal parts cosmetic and psychological. One here, two there, along and around Genesee Street between Pine and Washburn streets, battered old tenements have been replaced by Victorian-esque new apartment houses and a community center.

Twenty-eight units are now occupied, by low- to moderate-income tenants who all passed Housing Visions’ rigorous background checks. The last two units, 155 and 157 Genesee, are tentatively spoken for and now there’s a waiting list for LCH housing, according to property manager Robin McCowen.

“These apartments are being filled as soon as they’re constructed,” she said. “Interest in them has grown as people see that we did what we said we would do.”

Ribbon-cutting honors went to LCH resident Donna Lehan and her children, Sarah and Tyler, who moved into a unit on Genesee Street this past November, from the YWCA of Niagara-operated Carolyn’s House in Niagara Falls. Through the YWCA’s partnership with Housing Visions, 9 of the 30 units are dedicated permanently as housing for women and children recovering from domestic crisis.

Lehan said it’s a privilege to have been selected as an LCH resident.

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