TOWN OF NIAGARA – The town’s acquisition of the 22-acre Army base on Porter Road appears to be in the home stretch.
Daniel Bristol, who is acting as consultant and facilitator for the town on the transfer, briefed members of the Town Board at a work session Thursday.
The transfer of the site near Niagara Falls International Airport has been in the works with the Department of Defense for nearly eight years but could be “done in September,” Bristol said.
The transfer of the site and its buildings and hangar is touted as an economic development plan for the town in hopes of attracting businesses that could be aircraft-related or any number of other commercial or manufacturing ventures. At one time, the property had an estimated development value of $8 million, according to Supervisor Steven Richards. During the discussion, the current value was tagged at around $3 million.
As part of the deal, the town would commit to a purchase price of no more than $330,000, Bristol said. The money could be paid in a lump sum or in payments spread over a number of years. The first payment is not due until six years after the deal is signed.
The price could be affected by the hangar’s leaky roof, which has caused some damage to ceiling and floor tiles but not to the concrete structure, Bristol explained.
One possible future use of the hangar would be for musical concerts, John Hutchins suggested.
Hutchins, who represents the owners of the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, had approached the board to get permission to hold six or seven concerts this summer at Veterans Memorial Park in the Town of Niagara. Three shows would be free, while admission would be charged for the rest. For use of the park, the town would get 10 percent of the ticket sales.
The promoters would be responsible for all beer and food sales, production costs, security, cleanup and insurance, according to Hutchins. National and local acts would be on the bill.
In case of rain, Bristol suggested the concerts could be moved to the hangar or it could be used on a permanent basis for winter shows. Jokingly, he described it as “Artpark without the stupid trees.”