LOCKPORT – Mayor Michael W. Tucker said in his State of the City address Tuesday that “2013 will be a year to remember” in Lockport because of many major construction and business projects.
“There are no less than eight projects happening this year. This is not a wish list or things that we hope will happen,” Tucker told his audience at the luncheon meeting of the Lockport Rotary Club in the Lockport Town and Country Club.
Those projects will total nearly $28 million in investment in the city’s downtown core, Tucker said during his half-hour speech.
“That’s a huge number for a city like ours. That’s a huge number for the economic times we’re in,” the mayor said. “There’s going to be more construction cranes, more activity in our business district, than we’ve seen for a very long time.”
The restoration of the Flight of Five, the 19th century Erie Canal locks, is to begin June with construction work on two of the five locks. The State Canal Corp. will seek bids in April and award a contract in May, Tucker said.
An economic impact study a few years ago by Camoin Associates estimates that a complete Flight of Five restoration would bring 230,000 visitors a year to Lockport, with $16.9 million in visitor spending and resulting sales tax and hotel and motel “bed tax” revenue of nearly $600,000.
“Some people don’t believe that number,” Tucker said. “Let’s say they’re half right. That’s still $8 million in economic impact.”
Overlooking the locks project is Old City Hall on Pine Street, where the new Flight of Five Winery is to open by Memorial Day. Just to its north, Hydraulic Race Co., operator of the Lockport Cave, started work last week on a new ticket office and visitor center, which is to open in May.
Lake Effect Ice Cream is expected to move into its new factory and retail outlet on Canal Street by May. Last summer, 46,000 customers descended on its former Lock Street location.
In April, the long-closed downtown parking ramp is to be demolished, with work on its removal and replacement with a surface parking lot at Main and Pine streets expected to be done by late June or early July.
Meanwhile, Tucker said he expects Trek Inc., the Medina electronic instrument manufacturer, to be operating in Harrison Place by early spring, bringing almost 100 jobs to Lockport. “They are already talking to their suppliers about moving into the building,” the mayor said.
The Salvation Army will break ground this year on its 7,592-square-foot addition to its Cottage Street headquarters to expand its youth programs.
And on Chestnut Street, demolition of the old Jubilee supermarket is to begin in April or May, with a $12 million twin-rink ice complex to be erected on the site.
Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said once demolition is completed, construction of the indoor rink will take 18 months.