The estimated $24 million upgrade to the Pathfinder Courts apartment facilities cleared one of its hurdles this week after the Common Council signed off on a 40-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes agreement.
The agreement allows the low-income housing facilities to continue operate without a tax obligation to the city, despite their change from public housing to a privatized non-profit model.
The Pathfinder Courts apartments, which currently include 60 low-income family units and a 50-unit senior housing complex, were established as state-sponsored public housing in the late 1960s and early ’70s under the Fulton Housing Authority. However, as state funding for local housing authorities has diminished over the years, leaving only the rental revenues to sustain the properties, FHA has struggled to make capital improvements to the aging facilities.
As FHA now approaches the end of those buildings’ 50-year mortgages, it will turn over them over to a new not-for-profit entity — Emery Street Housing Development Fund Company, consisting of the same staff and administration who currently run the facilities — which will be investing millions of dollars to upgrade the sites and continue to run them under a low-income housing model.
As public housing, the Pathfinder Courts buildings had always been tax exempt. Under the new model, they will continue to operate without a local tax obligation through the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreed to by the Common Council Tuesday evening.
“This PILOT reflects a situation that’s almost identical to what they had (as public housing),” said Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. “It won’t make things any different on the city’s end, except now we have less risk in things.”
With Pathfinder Courts privatizing to a non-profit model, the City of Fulton will no longer be obligated to make it whole if it can’t meet its financial obligations. As a public housing facility, the city was required to do so. For Woodward, this change comes as a big relief.
He explained: “For example, let’s say that were to run up a huge heat bill and couldn’t pay it, we (the city) would have had to settle that debt. Or if they had to make major repairs to a building but couldn’t cover the cost, we would have had to cover that for them.”
As the transition continues to move forward, officials are planning major upgrades to the buildings to the tune of $16 million. Those include new facades, repairing hazardous sidewalks, fixing drainage issues, providing outdoor lighting that meets safety guidelines, a new security system, upgraded fire alarm systems, better electrical service to buildings, new roofs and siding, better insulation, updated kitchen and bathrooms, and new furnaces and water heaters. The project will also do away with any asbestos-based materials within the facilities.
Initial plans that were previously reported in the The Valley News included upgrades to the buildings’ carpeting and a possible new playground. However, those items have since been removed from the scope of work of this project, officials said.
“We’re basically going to make them like new housing — as new as new can be when working with an existing footprint,” said Bruce Levine of 3d Development Group, a Buffalo-based development firm that is coordinating the endeavor.
When adding in the cost of relocating residents for the construction period, asbestos removal, legal and bank fees, and other miscellaneous costs, officials estimated about $24 million would be spent on the endeavor. However, officials said Pathfinder Courts will probably only end up borrowing about $1.5 million of that. The rest of the funds will be pooled together from several state and federal resources, Levine said.
Officials say they are hoping to have the finances worked out by the beginning of May. Residents in buildings that are to be worked on would then be relocated to other apartments on the campus during construction. In all, Levine estimated a construction period of 24-28 months.
A building on the corner of East Broadway and First Street was torn down by the city this week — a move officials say will make the foreclosed site more marketable to sell.
Remembered as a former grocery store, restaurant and the original home of Fulton’s Jreck Subs, the one-story building at 215 First St. South, across from the Fulton Post Office, came down Tuesday. The parcel also includes an adjacent two-story building along Broadway that Fulton officials said would be coming down shortly after the first.
The parcel was one of many foreclosed on by the city in January 2014. Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. said the city was unable to salvage the site’s buildings due to neglect in recent years.
Among the many problems city officials found after acquiring the parcel were roof leaks, broken rafters, unsound support beams, a cellar full of water and black mold throughout the building.
“To rehabilitate it would have cost more than to tear it down, and then we’d still be left with a really old building there. The cheapest and smartest thing to do was to eliminate the hazard,” Woodward said.
With its highly visible location, Woodward feels that parcel will be appealing to a prospective buyer with a fresh start.
“There’s no value left in the building, itself. As it is, it’s nothing but a liability,” Woodward said. “But it’s a very high-traffic spot with parking options. I think it will be very marketable when we’re done.”
Marion Stanton, whose family owned the property for decades prior to its most recent owner, agrees.
“It’s a wonderful corner,” Stanton said. “Somebody at some point will put something there that will do really well. We always did very well in that area.”
Members of the Stanton family owned the property from 1918 until it was sold to its most recent owner, Syracuse-based Lobut Development LLC, in August 2005.
Stanton said the site once housed an A&P grocery store, as well as Little & Baker Groceries. In the 1930s, her father had the corner building’s second story removed. Over the years, the plot would end up housing several other notable Fulton businesses, including the Victory Grill, Murphy’s Store and Jreck Subs.
By Matthew Reitz
A minor parking lot mishap caused Fulton traffic lights, businesses and homes to go dark around lunchtime on Tuesday.
Around 11:45 a.m. a customer at Jreck Subs on South 2nd Street made contact with a utility pole guy-wire when pulling out of the parking lot in a Chevrolet Equinox.
The mishap caused a power outage in the surrounding area that left about 200 customers without power for about an hour, according to National Grid.
Traffic lights on East Broadway at the corners of South First and South Second streets were not operating, forcing police to direct traffic at some of the city’s busiest intersections during the lunchtime traffic rush.
The wire “got stuck up in the driver-side wheel well,” according to the Fulton Police Department.
A National Grid spokesperson said the accident caused some of the fuses on the pole to trip. The fuses were replaced, and power was restored by 12:40 p.m.
According to police, the customer didn’t realize he had done any damage and was unaware of the power outage at the time of the incident. After freeing his vehicle from the wire himself, the man left the scene unaware of the problem.
Dempsey said the incident was the second time the wire was hit recently, and noted that the guy-wire has since been removed.
Marilyn H. Clyne, 70, of Oswego died Tuesday April 7, 2015, at her home surrounded by her family. Mrs. Clyne was born in Cicero, N.Y., the daughter of the late Charles and Agnes (Nacewicz) Herbert. Mrs. Clyne retired from Constellation Nuclear Plant where she was a control room clerk. She was a former employee of SUNY Oswego where she worked in the library, and was a job coach for the developmentally disabled teens. She was also a past employee of Carrier Corp., Syracuse. Mrs. Clyne was a communicant of St. Mary’s Church. She enjoyed her family, dedicating her life to her husband, children, and sister. Mrs. Clyne is survived by her husband of 47 years Michael W. Clyne of Oswego, children Karen Michelle Clyne, and Brian Daniel (Janet) Clyne all of Oswego; her sister Paula Herbert of Oswego.
In addition she is survived by her grandchildren Eric Charles Clyne, Joshua Daniel Clyne, and nephews Daniel Herbert Jr., and Ian Herbert. Along with her family she is survived by her granddogs Tasha, and Reo. Mrs. Clyne was predeceased by her brother Daniel Herbert Sr., in 2002.
Calling hours will be Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Sugar & Scanlon Funeral Home, 147 W. 4th. St. Oswego. Funeral services will be Monday 9 a.m. at St. Mary of the Assumption Church, Oswego, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Rev. John Hogan.
Leon Smith, 88, of Fulton passed away Tuesday surrounded by his family. A lifelong resident of Fulton, Leon was born to the late Leon and Lillian MacNamara Smith. He was a well-known self-employed mason. Leon was a communicant of The Church of the Immaculate Conception and a member of V.F.W. Post 569, both in Fulton. He was a Navy Veteran and served during WWII.
He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, the former Barbara Hammond and daughter Cynthia Wood in 1997, as well as brothers Ernie and William and a sister, Cora. Leon will be greatly missed and forever loved by his children, Deborah Smith of Syracuse, Leon (Terri) Smith, Matthew (Terry) Smith of Fulton and Lorrie (Michael) Shortsleeve of Oswego; siblings, James (Mary), Norm, Jane Rawson, Pat (Claudette), Marion Arcardi; 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Saturday, April 11 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Fulton. Calling hours were Friday, April 10 at Foster Funeral Home, 910 Fay St., Fulton. Contributions in memory of Leon may be made to VFW Post 569, 218 Cayuga St., Fulton or to Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton, 13069.
Gloria Arlene Parish, 85, a resident of Gig Harbor, Wash., passed away at Saint Joseph Medical Center on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. Gloria was the beloved matriarch of her family, with whom she lived. Moving from her birthplace of Fulton, N.Y. to Southern California as a young woman, her dirt bike adventures on The Ranch are legendary. Whether she was camping and canoeing in upstate New York’s autumn brilliance or enjoying the harbor surrounded by evergreen trees, she took delight in the beauty of God’s creation. Her sense of humor and zeal for life, as well as her wonderful imagination, continues on in her children and grandchildren. Though she worked hard in a range of occupations from Nestle Candy Company to McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, and UC Irvine’s Cancer Research Institute, her greatest legacy was her family. Throughout the years Gloria was a continual loving presence to those around her; accepting and generous in every possible way. Her faith in Christ bolstered many a fallen spirit and she kept a long prayer list to which she would devote time every day. She was a true prayer warrior.
Family members include her daughter, Susan Beck (Gig Harbor); sons Richard and Lee Pierce (Southern California); three granddaughters, six grandsons, two great-grandsons and her cherished family in New York.
Her life will be celebrated at home at a time to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a memorial donation be made to the American Cancer Society and/or the American Heart Association. Arrangements have been made with Haven of Rest in Gig Harbor. Messages for the family and stories about Gloria can be left on their website at www.havenrest.com.
By Matthew Reitz
Fulton Common Council President Larry Macner is hoping to boost participation in the city’s neighborhood watch groups.
Macner says the city’s neighborhood watch programs have proven to be useful over the years, but could serve the community better if more residents got more involved.
“It would be a better program if more people showed up (for the meetings),” Macner said.
The main function of neighborhood watch programs is to reduce crime by using basic prevention techniques and reporting suspicious activity to the police. Tips from residents often help police respond to crimes, and statistics show increased attention from residents can help prevent crimes from happening in the first place.
“I’d just like to see more awareness so that people know what is going on in the neighborhood,” Macner said.
A 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that in the majority of cases, neighborhood watch programs were “associated with a reduction in crime” and “appeared to be effective.”
The concept of a neighborhood watch is nothing new. Their roots can be traced back to the colonial era, when local militias and night watchmen kept watch over their communities in the absence of municipal police forces. Neighborhood watches as we know them today were established in the 1970s in response to law enforcement efforts to involve citizens and address rising crime rates.
The Fulton Police Department encourages local participation in the programs, too. Deputy Chief Thomas Abelgore said neighborhood watch programs give police “an extra set of eyes and ears,” and added that a dedicated group of people in a neighborhood allows police “to have a presence without actually being there.”
“We can’t be everywhere,” Abelgore stated.
The department welcomes the opportunity to talk with residents and share useful information. Abelgore said the department would like to see residents take ownership of their communities, and noted that the city has a tip line, 593-TIPS, that residents can call 24 hours a day to leave anonymous tips.
Macner believes the economy has played a role in driving up the crime rate, but noted Fulton residents can still do their part by participating in neighborhood watch programs to keep their streets safe. Areas with higher crime rates need increased attention, and Macner suggested residents could request increased patrols in certain areas.
Meetings for the Sixth Ward Neighborhood Watch take place on Monday nights at 7 p.m. and typically last for about an hour according to Macner. The meetings are held in the auditorium at the Fulton Education Center on South Fourth Street. The schedule for the Sixth Ward meetings is listed through June 2015 on the city’s website.
Daniel Knopp, Councilor for the Second Ward, also encourages all interested residents to attend meetings for the neighborhood watch. Second Ward Neighborhood Watch meetings take place on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Fulton War Memorial Cafeteria.
By Matthew Reitz
Ten members of the Fulton Elks Lodge were sworn into new leadership positions last weekend during the organization’s annual Installation of Officers ceremony.
The ceremony, which is held each year in the spring, relieves the past year’s officers from their duties, congratulating them on their leadership and issuing awards, before swearing in the coming year’s leaders.
Linda Hughes, installed as Lecturing Knight, gave some insight into what she plans to accomplish from her leadership position in the coming year.
“I’m very community-minded, so this is a way of giving back,” Hughes said.
Hughes specifically mentioned working with children in the community, saying “the Elks do a lot of good things, especially with the kids. That’s my goal.”
Debbie Caprin, the lodge’s new Exalted Ruler, had similar goals for the organization, with an emphasis on giving back to this area’s veterans.
“I wanted to become an Elk because I believe in what it stands for,” Caprin said, “which is your youth, your veterans, and the community.”
Caprin said veterans are often underappreciated and she plans to continue the Elks’ efforts to remedy that.
“I don’t think they get appreciated enough,” Caprin said, adding “they deserve more for what they do for our country.