The Seneca Gaming Corp. has offered to repave city streets around the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino, but Common Council members said this week that they’re looking for a bit more.
If the corporation is going to do the streets, it also should construct sidewalks on both sides of each street, lawmakers said, not just sidewalks along the casino property.
“I like to see more of a complete street when you make these improvements,” Niagara Council Member David Rivera said.
An engineer representing the gambling corporation sought permission from lawmakers to improve city rights of way at the corporation’s expense during a Community Development Committee meeting Tuesday, but he was told to come back with a more comprehensive plan.
“If we can get the Senecas to do both sides of the street, I’m happy,” committee Chairman Joseph Golombek said in an interview Wednesday. “We’ll save money and can use the money elsewhere.”
The request was submitted by the gambling corporation in November, but the Council chose not to act on it at the time.
In anticipation of opening a larger gambling facility at Michigan Avenue and Perry Street this summer, Seneca Gaming has plans to improve sections of Michigan Avenue, Perry Street and South Park Avenue. Improvements would include lighting and sidewalks around those streets, and a full reconstruction of Marvin Street, as well as enhancements at the intersection of Louisiana Street and the Niagara Thruway ramp.
The corporation hopes to finish the street work by July.
Seneca Gaming officials considered sidewalks on both sides of the streets around the casino, but they thought that other development on adjacent blocks could render new sidewalks a waste of money, as driveways likely will be installed later, said Orest P. Ciolko, an engineer with Wendel.
“I would strongly urge, start being a good neighbor now,” said Ellicott Council Member Darius G. Pridgen. “If you’re not a good neighbor now, you probably won’t be a good neighbor later.”
Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto has been harshly critical of the gambling corporation, which he said has not lived up to its agreement with the city. The agreement outlines benchmarks for job creation and efforts to market the casino.
He discouraged his colleagues from approving any request from the corporation until its representatives meet with the city regarding the agreement, and the issues are resolved.
Fillmore Council Member David A. Franczyk noted that the gambling corporation had made charitable contributions to local organizations but shared the concern over the sidewalks.
Because his district includes the casino, several lawmakers said they would take their cue on the vote from Franczyk.
The gambling corporation has made no decisions about changing the project proposal, a spokesman said Wednesday.
In other Council action this week, Permits and Inspections Commissioner James Comerford spoke out about his decision to allow the demolition Jan. 4 of the former North Park Baptist Church at 375 Colvin Ave. He said he has a responsibility to health and safety.
“I love old architecture, I love buildings,” Comerford said, but he added that he feels responsible if firefighters are called to old buildings and are injured on the job.
During a meeting of the Council’s Legislation Committee, Comerford told lawmakers that before the demolition, he reached out to two developers to see if the church building could be reused, and they told him no.
“I’m not a real estate agent,” he said. “I try to go over and above.”
Comerford said he doesn’t “mind taking a beating,” but he said the perception that he is “trying to tear everything in the city down” is not the case.
The city’s Preservation Board had sought to landmark the building but could not get it done in time.