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Yes, they have historic buildings out here

Williamsville is bullish on its historic buildings -- so much so that it will add a few dozen more to its list. 

Stop down to Village Hall, 5565 Main Street, at 6 p.m. if you want to get a sneak peak at which buildings those are.

The Clinton Brown architectural firm will recommend to village officials about 30 buildings that could be nominated for state or national historic designations. Those will join 15 buildings in the village that already have been marked to save.

Village officials say it's all part of an effort to "preserve the historic character of Main Street" as they spruce the area up.

We will post the full report on the historic properties as soon as we get it.

Strong reactions to new Amherst hotel


People either love it or despise it. 

We're talking about the new Wyndham Garden hotel that opened yesterday in Amherst. 

Reactions on The News' Facebook page to Samantha Maziarz Christmann's story in today's paper were strong and polarized, like these:

"Ruins the whole look of entering the Village," remarked reader Doris Jones. 

Sage Kadow called the project "a total monstrosity."

Others, though, say the hotel -- now that is has been built -- is actually pretty nice.

"It's really a beautiful building inside....nice apartments with great finishes!" said Sandy Nelson.

Joel Altre-Kerber said the project grew on him to the point where he now likes it.

"Building to the sidewalk, not set back, makes it a much more accessible and integrated into the environment," Altre-Kerber said. "The Hampton Inn up the street was a missed opportunity after knocking down The Williamsville Inn."

Amherst wants Metro Rail extension -- but does Buffalo?

We wrote earlier this year about how the suburbs finally seem to want an expansion of Metro Rail or some other extension of public transit. 

But while Amherst leaders are open to the idea, the three candidates running for Mayor of Buffalo don't seem to keen on spending city dollars to make that happen. 

Watch this video from last night's mayoral debate to see what they think of the issue.

These images tell the story in Williamsville

Your head might be spinning after all the recent talk about "curb cuts" and "bulb-outs" as a way to make Williamsville more pedestrian friendly.

But if those terms are a bit unclear, the images below make things easier to visualize.

Taken at the recent pedestrian block party by News Staff Photographer Sharon Cantillon, the pictures show what the proposed changes would actually look like on the street (follow the chalk lines).

Here's a "bulb-out" that would extend the sidewalk and prevent drivers from cutting off pedestrians:

Picture Main 1

Here are plantings that would shield pedestrans from traffic:

Pic main 3

The changes in the Picture Main Street plan are still subject to state approval, but village officials say they expect the above modifications to get the green light.

Williamsville board meeting tonight

Fresh off recent talk -- and action -- about traffic and walkability, the Village of Williamsville board will discuss some other quality-of-life issues tonight. 

The board will talk about the placement of signs -- both commercial and political -- as well as cars parking on front lawns and federal block grant funding.

View the village board work session agenda here and the regular agenda here. The work session begins at 6 p.m.; regular meeting at 7:30. Both meetings in Village Hall, 5565 Main Street.

Amherst Town Board meeting agenda

The Amherst Town Board will meet at 3 p.m. today at the Amherst Municipal Building, 5583 Main St.

It's a relatively light agenda but here are two items of interest. The board may once again consider a rezoning of a parcel across from Williamsville South High School that a developer wants to turn into a mixed-use apartment and retail complex.

Also noteworthy are recommended changes to the town's controversial backyard chicken permitting process recommended by zoning board chairman Matt Plunkett.

Click here for the full agenda for this afternoon's meeting. And remember -- there's no 7 p.m. meeting tonight, just the 3 p.m. 

Williamsville looking for volunteers

The Village of Williamsville is looking for volunteers to help prepare for its Friday night "Picture Main Street" party on Spring Street.

Those interested should show up at the water mill on Spring Street at 3 p.m. today to help place some temporary plants along the proposed streetscape on Spring.

Friday's party, hosted by the Eagle House, runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes live music and "walk-around food."

More information on Saturday's party can be found here

Williamsville village meeting outdoors tonight

Nobody likes being cooped up in a meeting room on a precious summer night, and those attending the Williamsville Village Board meeting tonight won't have to be.

The board will take the rare step tonight of hosting its 7:30 p.m. meeting outside, on Spring Street in front of the Williamsville Water Mill. 

It's part of an effort to get village residents and visitors pumped up about some streetscape changes that should make it easier to help pedestrians walk through the village despite the heavy car traffic. 

Here's this weekend's story that delves into the most recent proposed changes. For a full schedule of this week's events on Main Street, click here.

The board's 6 p.m. work session will be held indoors, though, at Village Hall, 5565 Main St. Read the village meeting agendas here and here

"Taking back Main Street" in Williamsville

We've written about Williamsville's attempts (here, here and here) to make Main Street more pedestrian-friendly. 

But village leaders will soon be taking those efforts to a whole new level. Not content to wait for the state to OK the changes, they are organizing a preview of sorts, with crosswalks and other new elements temporarily painted onto the roadway. A weekend festival will also close the street to traffic. 

Take a look at the graphic below courtesy of the village's Facebook page:



About all that money in Amherst

It's a good problem to have -- a town comes into so much money that it's hard to keep it all straight.

But here's our attempt at clarifying exactly how much money Amherst will receive from the State Insurance Fund, as noted in today's front-page story.

The State Insurance Fund will pay a total settlement of $31 million -- and as Amherst Supervisor Barry Weinstein said, not a penny more.

Of that $31 million, roughly $17 million will go to the town and $10 million to the town's insurance agency, Granite State Insurance.

That leaves between $3 million and $4 million in interest payments. The town says it should receive all those, but Granite wants them, as well. So the two sides will fight over the $4 million through arbitration or in the courts. 

Today's story referred to a roughly $4 million "profit" the town will make on the settlement. Here's what that means: The town spent $13 million of its savings to pay the verdict of the Bissell injury case. It is getting reimbursed the $17 million, thus a "profit" of $4 million, which includes mostly legal fees.

I hope that clears things up. In these austere times, it's not a bad problem to have. 

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