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LOCKPORT - Niagara County plans to sell its two records storage buildings as part of a Davison Road real estate deal and will move its old files to a former factory in Newfane.
The County Legislature is to vote Tuesday on whether to authorize a lease deal with Lockport developer David L. Ulrich's Clear Opportunity Properties on part of the former Lockport Mattress Co. plant on Transit Road in Newfane.
The county already stores its voting machines in that building.
County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said Friday that the storage buildings on Davison Road will be included in the sale of most of the county's property there, which the Legislature resolution describes as "imminent."
Legislature Vice Chairman Clyde L. Burmaster confirmed that the county is negotiating a sale of the land and buildings between the An-Jo League ball diamonds and the county golf course, except for an old cemetery, to R.B. Mac Construction Co. of Lockport.
Assistant County Attorney R. Thomas Burgasser said the sale price will be less than $160,000. He said the buyer will have to state its plans for the property in the sale contract, but that hasn't happened yet. Kevin McKenna, an R.B. Mac executive, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
However, Burmaster said housing was being envisioned for the rear portion of the 16.9-acre parcel. The deal also includes the former county infirmary, later called the Switzer Building, along with its former chapel, two old houses, a burned-out former maintenance building and an empty parks building near the adjoining golf course.
Originally, the records buildings weren't supposed to be included, but Glatz said, "There's a roof in one of the buildings that needs repair badly. . I didn't want to invest any money in the old records buildings."
Actually, one isn't so old; it was erected in 2001 at a cost of $500,000. The other is a renovated former residence for the infirmary's nurses.
"I'm not fighting this. It's a good thing for us to do," County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow said. He said the two buildings are full, even though a study when the new storage building was planned said it would last 20 years.
But Jagow said the authors had no way of predicting the expansion of court space in the County Courthouse, forcing much of the courts' document storage into the county's new building.
Glatz said the county would be leasing about 28,000 square feet of space from Ulrich for $4.45 per square foot. The lease is to last five years.
Ulrich, who did not return calls seeking comment, already has agreed to allow the county to erect a radio tower for its new emergency radio system on the mattress plant property. He is not charging the county for the use of the land, which Glatz estimated will save the county $300,000 to $400,000 over the next 20 years.
Glatz said, "Our thought is to eventually be a regional [records] processing center and get some revenue from the towns and villages."
He said Ulrich will have to pay for preparing the space in terms of climate control, lights, painting and electricity.
Burmaster said he would like to see a records building erected on county-owned land on Junction Road in Cambria, but his Legislature colleagues oppose that idea. The county bought the land in 2008 to build a new Public Works Department headquarters, but the project was scrapped when cost estimates ballooned.
Jagow said the inconvenience of driving to Newfane to find old documents is outweighed by the benefits of the available space.
"It gives us a little breathing space to see what the needs of records management are going to be in terms of technology," he said.

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