Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

July 6, 2014

Spalding Street family intent on creating community

Spalding Street couple determined to establish community in neighborhood saddled with a bad reputation

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The so-called “Impact Zone” in Lockport has a certain stigma attached to it.

Infamous for drugs, robberies and occasionally shootings, the neighborhood deemed as the first “Impact Zone” by police and city officials in January 2013 isn’t usually synonymous with raising a family or buying a house. 

At a time when some people are moving out of the neighborhood to get away from the crime that often plagues it, one young couple, James and Maria Updegraph, is taking a stand and investing everything they have into turning the area around. 

Having spent most of their lives in Lockport, the Updegraphs purchased a home on Spalding Street several years ago. The couple runs a business together creating special effects and horror masks. Together with their three children, the Updegraphs are committed to making the area safe for aspiring homeowners and families alike. 

“I’ve always been drawn to the beautiful Victorians,” Maria said, noting that the couple spent a year and a half restoring the home. “It was very affordable to buy a house and restore it.”

Added James Updegraph: “They’re very affordable for young couples to come in here. We paid cash and we’re mortgage free.”

While the Updegraphs are hoping their investment in the city brings similar couples and families into the area, there are other indications that the area is starting to see growth, said Police Chief Larry Eggert. Eggert believes that’s the result of police efforts in the area. 

“What you’re starting to see when you drive down Washburn or Genesee is that people are starting to rehab the houses,” he said. “You’re starting to see people take the houses and remodel them, refurbish them and make them livable again... you see people actually investing money.”

Despite the positives, the Union-Sun & Journal received several emails and comments from residents in the area who are intent on leaving the “Impact Zone.” One resident, Traci, who asked that her last name not be used, said she just sold her home. 

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