Lockport highlights two examples of burns
September 5 – LOCKPORT – Two homes are on the city’s radar as examples of burnout. One is 133 Hawley St. in which a warrant has been issued for its resident because he was not in Housing Court on Tuesday. He can now be arrested on charges related to the presence of debris in the yard of the rental in which he lives.
The property owner is scheduled to appear in a Lockport City courtroom at 2:30 p.m. on September 6 for failing to follow city orders regarding furniture and trash on his property.
The other structure is owned by a woman who has failed to repay her taxes and whose property at 6 Ashley Place will be auctioned later this year.
The Ashley Street property suffered a fire in 2017, with heavy roof damage, before she bought it. The side of the building is also heavily damaged and although the doors and windows have been blocked off, there are openings large enough for a man or woman to enter.
According to Chief Financial Officer Tim Russo, the city plans to spend $20,000 on demolishing the structure in the 2023 budget.
Russo said with the operation of the auction, all property sales will be used to repay taxes, as well as water and sewer bills. If there are funds left, they are used as revenue for the city.
“In that case, we’d like to sell the property for over $20,000,” Russo said of the empty lot that 6 Ashley Place will become after demolition.
According to the Municipal Council Paul Beakman, houses in ruins like the one on Hawley Street, in the 1st district which he represents, are causing the entire city to collapse.
Beakman noted that the directors of Zeton International, the company that bought the old Dussault smelter, were initially stunned by Lockport’s “rundown” appearance when offered to buy Chemical Design, a local business in the city since 1958.
But while Beakman said he thinks Lockport will be more viable for businesses once the blight is eliminated, the main players in the fight against the blight are the residents.
“Have you heard of the broken window theory? Beckman said. “First a house falls, then the block falls, then the whole neighborhood falls! Home values and security fall.”
Beakman said that as a police officer in Lockport, he was the liaison between the police department and the building inspector’s office. He said the two departments were doing something, but all of a sudden the building inspector’s office staff was cut off.
“Genesee and Washburn fell in the 1990s,” he said. “It’s gone from single-family homes to rented apartments owned by slum landlords who only care about money. Washing off the community.”
As for his continued role in the fight against blight, Beakman said he’s committed.
“I think now we’re trying,” he said. “But I believe we should be doing a lot more.”
Alderman of the 2nd district, Luke Kantor, did not comment on the state of the property of Ashley Place, which is in his district.