SILVER CREEK – The Village Board is looking for ways to improve the downtown business district.

Mayor Nick Piccolo told the board Monday that he met with representatives of STEL Inc. and with Chautauqua County Legislator George Borrello to discuss the potential renovation of the former school building on Main Street. The mayor said the county has not taken over ownership of the property.

Piccolo said there is an estimate of $4.5 million to demolish the structure. He said that STEL, of Dunkirk, has expressed an interest in constructing apartments in the building. Piccolo said STEL is seeking some funding from Chautauqua County, as well as other funding for the project.

Piccolo said that the school building, vacant since 1979, poses several problems, including a rodent infestation, and asbestos and other contaminants inside it.

Trustee Warren Kelly said he set up a meeting with the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency for May 30 to see if it has any ideas to improve the downtown business district.

Piccolo said he does not have a definite answer about the closing of Petri Baking Products, which is in the business district. Piccolo said that ConAgra, the new owner of the company, has not revealed whether it will remove all the equipment from the plant when the doors are closed. ConAgra had previously announced that it would lay off the workforce and close the business by June. Piccolo said the latest information is that the company has orders to be filled through the end of August and will keep a partial workforce employed until then.

Piccolo encouraged the trustees and other village officials to support the local businesses that remain in the village and to encourage new ideas for the many vacant storefronts.

In other business, Jeff Griewisch was named disaster coordinator for the village. He replaces the late Richard Bartlett. Steve Romanik and Brandon Griewisch were named his assistants.

There was a lengthy discussion on whether to allow private residents to rent the pavilion at the ballpark for events.

A request from a local resident to rent the pavilion was tabled pending further investigation into liability.

The water-line replacement project is continuing. More than 2,000 feet of eight-inch pipe has been installed in the neighborhoods of Pearl, Elm and Hickory streets.

New lines will be installed on Hanover, Seneca and Pearl streets soon.

The third phase of the project is expected to start after June 1 and will include several other neighborhoods, including Babcock and Burgess streets.