A vacant school building on the East Side, with broken windows, graffiti and weeds growing through what used to be a playground and parking lot, is expected to be gutted and get new life as a homeless shelter and center for human services.
The former Broadway Village Community Elementary School, or School 57, on Sears Street, closed 10 years ago, but the leadership of the adjacent Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center is redeveloping it with Savarino Cos.
Plans for the building include a food pantry, medical and dental clinic, job training, an emergency shelter and 18 apartments for homeless women. The project will cost $8.6 million, or more, depending on the condition of the building, and construction could begin next year, said Marlies A. Wesolowski, executive director of the Matt Urban Center.
“They need to do something,” said Ronnie Turner, a landlord who owns a house adjacent to the vacant school.
Tuesday, the Common Council agreed to designate the Urban Center as developer for the property. The center must make progress on purchasing the site within 18 months, or the agreement expires.
The Council also approved another significant project on the East Side on Tuesday when it agreed to sell 18 parcels of city land for $43,345 to developers of Gospa Village, a 12-unit, single-family housing development for at-risk mothers run by St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, near the Mission at Oberlin, Ruhland and Walden avenues, and Sycamore Street.
Funding is in place for four of the units; construction is expected to begin in August or September, and will take several years to complete.
• The Council approved $200,000 in grants for anti-violence and cultural organizations, which were allocated in the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
After a long-delayed process, the city solicited proposals in March, and Mayor Byron W. Brown, Council Majority Leader Demone A. Smith, of the Masten District, and Law Department representatives decided to award grants between $1,000 and $7,500 to each of the 51 eligible organizations that applied.
Winners of the largest grants include the African-American Cultural Center, Community Action Organization of Erie County, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, Delavan Grider Community Center, National Inner Cities Youth Opportunities, Stop the Violence Coalition and the National Federation of Just Communities of WNY.
• The Council agreed to hire consultants to begin capital upgrades at more than 20 community centers. The upgrades will cost $8.1 million and will be funded with leftover federal block grant funds.
• Lawmakers approved a $15.8 million contract with Mark Cerrone Inc. for the reconstruction of the 500 block of Main Street, which is being reconfigured to handle vehicle traffic, and a $2.5 million contract with Concrete Applied Technologies Corp. for streetscapes in the Lovejoy District.
• North Council Member Joseph Golombek Jr. revived his call to merge Western New York’s two bridge agencies, with the intent of diverting truck traffic to the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
Golombek’s resolution calls for merging the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, which operates three bridges, and the Peace Bridge Authority.