Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Towns

November 14, 2006

TOWN OF LOCKPORT: Visually-impaired apartments proposed

TOWN OF LOCKPORT — A Buffalo-based non-profit agency is looking for the go-ahead to build an apartment complex for the visually-impaired on Davison Road.

Representatives from the Olmsted Center for Visually Impaired, Silvestri Architects, LLC and Savarino Construction gave an initial presentation of the project Tuesday during the Lockport Town Planning Board’s work session.

The company wants to build a $4 million, 24-unit apartment building at 5556 Davison Road, a skinny 2.2-acre site in the Ulrich Business Park.

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Olmsted’s Chief Financial Officer Milissa Acquard said the building will include a talking elevator, signs in Braille and contours on the staircases.

A property manager and maintenance technicians will work in the complex. There also will be a part-time service coordinator to help residents pay bills or find services nearby.

“This is completely independent living,” Acquard said.

There will be 20 1-bedroom apartments with rent around $350 and four 2-bedroom apartments with rent around $400. The complex itself will not be subsidized. The tan building with red brick trim will occupy the front half of the site, while a gazebo and storm water retention pond will take up the back half.

Olmsted has similar apartment complexes in Cheektowaga, North Tonawanda, and three in Buffalo. Residents are primarily visually-impaired, but Acquard said the complex cannot turn anyone away who is deemed disabled by a doctor.

Acquard said Olmsted will need to have the site approved by mid-December in order to apply for project funds through the Department of Housing and Community Renewal. The project will be funded primarily through federal tax credits and money from the New York State Housing Trust Fund, with funds to close the gap from state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane.

The time crunch to find land for the project set in after the original Town of Lockport site was deemed incompatible, said Savarino vice president David E. Pawlik. He said he was told the first site would be difficult to re-zone because of an unspecified long-term project in the area.

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