NIAGARA FALLS – City officials are finally seeing the light in a long-standing issue with an unlighted, dilapidated city-owned parking lot near Wrobel Towers.
The City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to award CIR Electrical Construction Corp. of Lackawanna an $87,900 contract to install new lighting in the lot, situated between Ontario and Cleveland avenues and Main and Whirlpool streets, which is used by residents and visitors to the adjacent Niagara Falls Housing Authority residences.
Funding will come from the city’s share of slot machine revenue from the Seneca Niagara Casino.
“It’s our responsibility,” Council Chairman Glenn A. Choolokian said after Tuesday’s Council meeting.
First off, it’s a safety issue, Choolokian said, adding that if the city expects others to maintain their properties, it has to keep up its own.
The issue has been discussed at Council meetings over the last two months, but an official request for the city to fix the lighting as well as drainage problems and potholes in the lot go back to November 2011, when the property manager said she first reported the issue through the city’s website.
There were only two bidders for the contract, CIR and Yarussi Construction of Niagara Falls, which bid $114,000, city officials said.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster said the city may still need to install temporary lighting because the project will take between eight and nine weeks to complete.
In other matters, the Council:
• Approved a $2.7 million spending plan for federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.
• Approved up to $15,000 to remove “mold-type substances” from the 72nd Street firehouse. Some of the work will be done by city crews, with the remainder to be done by an outside contractor through a public bidding process.
• Approved the use of $300,000 in casino revenue for the city’s Management Information Systems Department to purchase various pieces of hardware and software for use in all city departments. Some of the funding will also be used to redesign the city’s website.
• Approved the purchase of video surveillance systems for the Department of Public Works at a cost of $52,160. The systems will be installed at the city parking ramp’s cashier office, gas pumps at the Public Works facility and an undisclosed facility in the Parks Department.
• Approved a settlement of a dispute involving a piece of city-owned land between the Red Coach Inn and the building known as the Turtle. In 2011, Niagara Falls Redevelopment, which owns the Turtle, sued the Red Coach, claiming interference with easement rights, according to a memo to the Council from Corporation Counsel Craig H. Johnson.
The settlement allows the Red Coach to share parking and locate a dumpster on part of the parcel. If the Turtle reopens, Niagara Falls Redevelopment can reassert its exclusive parking rights and make the Red Coach remove its dumpster, Johnson said in his memo.