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Some angst in Amherst tonight?

Two residents' groups are expected to pack Amherst Town Hall tonight in opposition of two separate development projects.

Neighbors who live behind Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart have applied for a historic designation of the 1930s campus. As noted in today's story, they aren't happy about plans for a gym overlooking their homes.

The second group -- likely to be much louder -- is the Livingston Parkway Association, a group of residents who for months have opposed plans for a Hyatt hotel between I-290 and their spacious homes. The group has even hired a Los Angeles public relations firm to get out its message with this news release, sent out earlier today.

Both meetings start at roughly 7 p.m. so I'll try to be two places at once to keep you updated. 

Williamsville's Old Home Days run this week

Williamsville's most popular summer event has begun.

The Old Home Days festival runs through Saturday at Island Park, behind town hall at 5583 Main St.

We will have a complete listing of the schedule in tomorrow's paper. For more information on events and start times, visit this site.

Report not friendly to Amherst IDA

Check out Dave Robinson's front page story today about the broken promises made by the area's industrial development agencies.

The report the story is based on doesn't look too kindly on any of the suburban IDAs, but especially not  Amherst. 

Erie County's largest town gave out the largest amount of tax breaks over a five-year span (nearly $700,000) but came through on just 11 percent of the jobs the projects promised to create. 

The various projects that received taxpayer subsidies were supposed to create 155 jobs; they created 17.

New pocket park on Main Street in Williamsville

Plans to make Main Street in Williamsville a more walkable commercial strip are moving ahead this morning with the groundbreaking of a new pocket park.

Town and village officials a few minutes ago broke ground on the park, which will be located between the Williamsville Library and Village Hall. The area is now used as one of two driveways for the library.

The idea is to give village shoppers a respite from the traffic on Main Street while also creating a base for a proposed pedestrian signal in that spot.

“The creation of the pocket park at the Williamsville Library is a major step in the overall implementation of the Village’s ‘Picture Main Street Plan,’” Williamsville Mayor Brian J. Kulpa said.

He added, “We are creating a pedestrian culture on Main Street that will improve the quality of life for our residents and ensure a more dynamic commercial atmosphere for our businesses.”

For more on the Picture Main Street initiative, click here and here.

Picture of Amherst Hyatt construction

Here is a new picture from News photographer Derek Gee of trees being cleared for the controversial Hyatt hotel in Amherst:


More on Main Street in Williamsville

Today's story highlights a key part of a new plan to make Main Street in Williamsville more "walkable and livable."

The plan, dubbed Picture Main Street, has two main components: traffic calming on Main Street's busy strip and the development of a second business district on Spring Street, where the historic water mill stands.

Continue reading "More on Main Street in Williamsville" »

Hyatt talk dominating race for Amherst supervisor

A rendering of the proposed Hyatt Place hotel to be located behind the Lord Amherst near I-290.

Last night's Amherst Town Board meeting put to rest any doubts about whether the controversial Hyatt Place hotel would remain a central part of the race for Amherst supervisor.

As today's story notes, both candidates sparred about their roles in the project, each accusing the other of flip-flopping or being on the wrong side of the debate.

Council Member Mark A. Manna also this morning wrote a letter to the editor challenging a previous letter written by Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein.

Continue reading "Hyatt talk dominating race for Amherst supervisor" »

Iskalo pushes back on Hyatt project

Iskalo Development Corp. isn't happy about its signature hotel project on Main Street being turned into the hottest political issue of Amherst's election season.

In a letter to the Town Board, Iskalo officials shot back at both candidates for Amherst supervisor, saying they have essentially changed their stances on the project for political expediency.

Read the full letter by clicking on this link this link and read tomorrow's Buffalo News for reaction from both the candidates. 

Also, here's our story on the project from this weekend.

Manna cashes in on anti-Hyatt fundraiser

Council Member Mark Manna, who is challenging incumbent Barry A. Weinstein for Amherst supervisor, cashed in on a recent political fundraiser held in Snyder.

Manna reports that he raked in more than $10,000 from the event held on Livingston Parkway, an area filled with residents who are frustrated about a proposed Hyatt Place hotel being built near their backyards.

Political fundraisers are common this time of year, but this one is noteworthy because it illustrates how Manna and his supporters are looking to frame the race for Amherst's top job around the issue of development.

Weinstein last week sought to clarify his own position on the controversial development.

This won't likely be the final word on the hotel, either. Look for some passionate discussion at tonight's 7 p.m. meeting at Town Hall.