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LEWISTON – The plan to turn 29 acres of land owned by the Sisters of St. Francis at Stella Niagara into a nature preserve along the banks of the Niagara River took a step forward this week.

The Niagara River Greenway’s Ecological Standing Committee has approved a $500,000 funding request from the Western New York Land Conservancy, which plans to buy the land from the order of Catholic nuns. The property has been appraised at $2.25 million.

With 1,474 feet of shoreline, the land along Lower River Road is the third-longest piece of privately owned riverfront in Niagara County.