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December 15, 2004 Wednesday


Let me get this straight. A private logging company will be paying 90 percent of the purchase price ($333,900) for the closed and unused J.N. Adam Development Center in Perrysburg to the City of Buffalo, and Councilman David Franczyk is contemplating refusing the agreement because he is afraid a few more trees will be taken down than he feels is appropriate?

This is the same Council president who represents a city government that could desperately use the money to fund city operations, save jobs and correct some deficiencies caused by years of mismanagement. Go figure! I guess this adds another meaning to the phrase of not being able to "see the forest for the trees."

John R. Wicka, Lake View

December 16, 2004 Thursday




The state's plan to sell a 650-acre site in Perrysburg to a logging company hit a snag Tuesday when the Common Council delayed approving the deal.

Buffalo is being asked to give up its reversionary interests at a site that was once home to the city's tuberculosis hospital. In return, the city would receive 90 percent of the purchase price, or $333,900.

State officials, control board staff members and the supervisor in Perrysburg have urged the Council to approve the plan. They note that Buffalo will receive revenue, the land will be returned to the tax rolls, and Perrysburg would be given the site's water system to meet pressing needs in the town and village.

The state Dormitory Authority, which is handling the deal, had hoped the Council would take action Tuesday.

That didn't happen. Some Council members want written guarantees that Trathen Land Co. of York will manage the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center property in an environmentally responsible way.

Meanwhile, other entities have contacted the city to signal their interest in the site.

Another timber company, a development agency in Cattaraugus County and an educational institution in Ohio have all expressed some level of interest, according to Council President David A. Franczyk.

He said initial correspondence leads him to believe that a "better deal" might be struck with more favorable terms and stronger guarantees. Franczyk and others want assurances that many buildings on the site will be preserved and that entire forests won't be cut down.

But Claudia S. Hutton, a spokeswoman for the Dormitory Authority, said Trathen won a competitive bid and considering new proposals now would delay the sale for a year.

"We would have to throw out the bid and start all over again," she said.

Franczyk accused state officials of showing a "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude. "I'm disappointed with their bureaucratic mentality. They want to make the deal, walk away and not think anything about the future," Franczyk said Wednesday.

He acknowledged there are risks if the deal collapses. If the state returns the property to the city, Buffalo could face additional financial pressures and liability issues. Franczyk added that cynics might wonder why he's taking a hard environmental line when the Cattaraugus County site is 35 miles south of Buffalo.

"I'm not just a resident of the city. I'm also a resident of the state and the planet. I have certain values," he said.

Thomas S. Trathen, president of the logging company, visited Buffalo this week to try to convince city officials that Trathen has a solid 22-year track record and owns or manages more than 50,000 acres of land.

"Our long-term forest approach has actually kept many forests in New York as working forests," said Trathen.

Franczyk said he has no reason to doubt Trathen's intentions. But he said the company's pledge to adhere to "high standards" in managing the forests is vague and that no firm plan has been presented for preserving some existing buildings.


December 22, 2004 Wednesday


LENGTH: 520 words




More concerns surfaced Tuesday as the Common Council continued to dissect a state plan to sell land in Cattaraugus County to a logging company.

Buffalo fits into the picture because it has reversionary rights to the 650-acre Perrysburg campus of the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center. The city has been facing pressure from state and control board officials to give up its interests in return for $333,900 -- or 90 percent of the price that Trathen Land Co. would pay for the land.

At a Finance Committee meeting, Council members tagged on several issues to a growing list of questions about the sale, including:

The status of gas wells on the site. City Real Estate Director John Hannon assured lawmakers that the wells have been "dry" for a long time and that they are only being used as storage facilities by a utility company.

The future of a stained-glass dome that graces the ceiling of a dining room at the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center. Council President David A. Franczyk said the dome is believed to have been built for the Pan-American Exposition of 1901. He said experts no longer think the dome was from the famed Temple of Music exhibit, but he said the creation is still historic. Moving the dome back to Buffalo, however, might cost $1 million, Franczyk told lawmakers.

The value of other assets on the site, including cherry trees. Until recently, Council concerns centered on fears that the sale agreement failed to ensure that the logging company would manage the land in an environmentally responsible way. Trathen said it has a solid track record that demonstrates its commitment to properly managing forests. Franczyk plans to visit one of Trathen's properties in York) next week.

Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana joined the ranks of skeptics Tuesday when he branded the state plan a "shortsighted sale."

"It's a bad deal for the city," said Fontana, who called the proposed selling price a "pittance."

But Council Majority Leader Marc A. Coppola said some might be overlooking the "warts" that confront site developers, including environmental issues. He said that while several outside entities have questioned the terms of the deal, no one else has "offered a penny" for the site.

"Where's the money if (the property) is worth so much more?" asked Coppola.

The property was once home to Buffalo's tuberculosis hospital. The city later turned the property over to the state, which operated it as a facility for mentally ill and developmentally disabled people for more than 40 years. The state closed the facility 11 years ago, but the city maintains reversionary rights.

Some Council members said they're sensitive to the fact that by delaying the sale, Perrysburg residents are being left in limbo over a water system transfer that would address pressing needs in the the town and village. They asked legal experts to see if the water system could be given to Perrysburg even if the Council doesn't authorize the sale of the land.

State officials said they're still hopeful the Council will approve the sale at its Tuesday meeting, the last session of the year.


December 29, 2004 Wednesday




The Common Council delayed action Tuesday on the state's push to sell land in Perrysburg to a logging company, the second time this month the plan confronted hurdles in City Hall. New claims surfaced that the state failed to perform an adequate environmental review, prompting the Council to keep the plan bottlenecked in committee.

Meanwhile, a state official insisted the site was subjected to proper environmental scrutiny. Buffalo has reversionary rights on the Cattaraugus County land, which once housed the city's tuberculosis hospital. The city has been offered $333,900, or 90 percent of the proposed sale price, to give up its interests in the 650-acre site. The move would pave the way for selling the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center to Trathen Land Co.

Council President David A. Franczyk claimed an environmental review performed in 1998 failed to specifically address the impact a logging operation would have on the site. Earlier in the day, Franczyk met in York, Livingston County, with Trathen officials. He was accompanied by legal and environmental experts.

Franczyk later said it is not his intention to derail the deal, claiming his only motive is to make sure all proper procedures have been followed.

"The characterization of delay is confused with due diligence," said Franczyk.

He warned the city could face legal problems if it authorizes a land deal without proper environmental scrutiny.

The state Dormitory Authority previously warned city officials that failure to finalize the deal this month could doom the sale and prompt the state to pass along expenses. But Paul Burgdorf, an authority spokesman, left the door open to continued dialogue.

City Real Estate Director John Hannon said he still believes the deal is good for all parties.

"I think we can work it out. It's all about negotiating," he said.

The dispute over past environmental studies isn't the only concern. Some Council members have been pushing for written guarantees that Trathen will manage the land responsibly, while others have criticized the terms of the sale. In recent weeks, city officials reported that numerous entities have expressed interest in the site. State officials countered that Trathen was selected after an extensive bidding process.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the Council:

Approved an amendment requiring vendors that bid on many city contracts to pledge to work toward a goal of having at least 25 percent of their work force made up of minorities and 5 percent made up of females. Sponsor Antoine M. Thompson of Masten said the clause formalizes what many city departments are already implementing. Thompson called it a critical step toward promoting inclusion.

Approved a resolution calling for a more environment-friendly policy when the city buys products. Advocates said the Council vote in favor of a PBT-free purchasing policy puts Buffalo on a path to becoming the first city in the state with such a policy. PBTs, or persistent bioaccumulative toxins, are found in many products. The pollutants are difficult to destroy and build up in the environment.


January 5, 2005 Wednesday




The Common Council will reject the state's plan to sell a 650-acre site in Perrysburg to a logging company, city lawmakers predicted Tuesday.

A lengthy debate indicated that supporters lack the six votes required to waive the city's reversionary rights to the Cattaraugus County campus of the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center. At least five of nine Council members said questions about plans to sell the site to Trathen Land Co. had not been resolved. Ellicott Council Member Brian C. Davis, chairman of the Finance Committee, said he will push for a final vote Tuesday, and expects the deal to be rejected.

"It's clear the support isn't there," he told committee members. "There's no reason to continue to jerk this guy around."

Davis was referring to Thomas S. Trathen, president of the York-based logging company. In recent correspondence, Trathen has urged approval of the deal.

"I have gone to great lengths to educate and clarify how the property will be managed," he wrote in an e-mail. "I feel this is a win-win scenario for all parties."

But Council members said they were worried about the environmental impact of logging activity. "I will not vote to sell the property to a logger," Lovejoy Council Member Richard A. Fontana said. "I've seen what they do in the Southern Tier.

Some contend the city could get a better deal than the state's offer to give Buffalo $333,900, or 90 percent of the sale price.

J. David Swift, a former national parks ranger who has lived in Perrysburg for 15 years, met with the Council members Tuesday. Contrary to studies that downplay reuse prospects, the land, he said, has "incredible potential." He said options might include a nature center, an environmental studies facility, a satellite campus for colleges or housing for senior citizens. He said some of the more than 50 structures on the site could be rehabilitated.

But everyone agrees that redeveloping the land would cost money the city does not have.

"It's going to come down to dollars and cents when all is said and done," University Council Member Bonnie E. Russell said.

Swift claimed 10 properties on several acres could generate $500,000 in seed money to spur redevelopment efforts. Swift said he would like to assemble a group of investors interested in environmentally friendly ventures.

City Real Estate Director John Hannon, who has been involved in the Perrysburg saga for 12 years, said previous efforts to market the site have fizzled. "There is no real demand for any type of use out there other than maybe agricultural," he said.

Council President David A. Franczyk, whose initial concerns prompted lawmakers to delay action, said the Council appeared ready to reject the plan next week. He also denied rumors that his office has been actively pitching the site to another logging company.

Even if the deal with Trathen is rejected, South Council Member James D. Griffin and other lawmakers said the state should transfer the site's water system to Perrysburg to ease pressing needs in the town and village.


January 6, 2005 Thursday




The head of a timber harvesting company interested in buying a Perrysburg site that was once home to Buffalo's tuberculosis hospital is stressing his company's reputation for responsibly managing forests.

Thomas S. Trathen, president of the York-based Trathen Land Co., said he remains hopeful the Common Council will allow the state to sell the 650-acre site in Cattaraugus County. Buffalo has reversionary rights to the campus of the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center.

Trathen made his comments one day after several Buffalo lawmakers predicted that the Council would reject the sale at Tuesday's meeting.

Some Council members have raised environmental concerns, while others have questioned the terms of the deal that gives the city $333,900, or 90 percent of the sale price. Others want to see detailed plans for refurbishing many buildings on the site.

Trathen reacted angrily Wednesday to what he viewed as some Council members' effort to malign the logging industry.

He argued that his company, which owns or manages more than 50,000 acres of forests, has won numerous awards for its "responsible, low-impact" timber-harvesting techniques. He also cited a recent letter from the Western New York Land Conservancy lauding Trathen's "commitment to maintaining the rural nature" of its land.

Trathen said he finds it hard to fathom that the Council will kill a deal he claims will benefit all parties. "I'll be shocked if this doesn't pass on Tuesday based on the facts of the transaction," he said.

Trathen also released a letter he received this week from Perrysburg Town Supervisor Morton Sprague indicating that, with only a couple exceptions, area residents strongly support Trathen's purchase. The deal includes transfer of the site's water system to Perrysburg to meet pressing needs in the town and village.


January 10, 2005 Monday





On a recent afternoon, snow glistened on the trunks and limbs of maple, beech, red oak and the rarer black cherry trees that occupy hillsides in Perrysburg.

Stillness filled these Cattaraugus County woods. But it may not for long.

Turquoise paint marks on some of the trees were evidence of the logging outfit seeking to buy the state-owned property.

Trathen Land Co. wants to log the 450 acres of forest and pasture, and develop an additional 200 acres where a hospital once treated tuberculosis patients and later people with developmental disabilities. The company would also acquire eight two-story hillside homes with garages and woods in the back yard for resale.

Standing in the way of the sale is the Buffalo Common Council, which is expected to vote Tuesday.

Council President David A. Franczyk, who leads the opposition, has asked -- unsuccessfully -- for legally binding assurances from Trathen that it will practice sustainable forestry methods and reuse buildings designed by architect John Hopper Coxhead.

"I want to make sure future generations can enjoy this beautiful land and property," Francyzk said of the three properties 40 miles south of Buffalo.

Company owner Tom Trathen has balked at signing the agreements, arguing that it is unfair to revisit terms already negotiated. He is supported by Empire State Development Co., the state agency that advertised for a buyer.

"We believe the results of our competitive bid are good for the City of Buffalo and the State of New York," said Claudia Hutton, spokeswoman for the state Dormitory Authority, which is working with Empire State Development. "It's a win-win situation."

New York State owns the land, but under a 1960 agreement, the land would revert to its original owner, the City of Buffalo, if it is no longer used to treat people with mental disorders. The state is offering Buffalo 90 percent of the purchase price, or $339,300.

Empire State Development has unloaded significant properties in recent years -- many of them former psychiatric centers -- it considers surplus land. Doing so has allowed the properties to return to the tax rolls and has absolved the state of costly maintenance and environmental cleanups. It wants to do the same in Perrysburg.

"The state is not making money off the sale, but would reduce its future operating costs by millions because it would no longer maintain the property," Hutton said.

The Masiello administration and the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority also support the sale. So, too, do the town and village officials of Perrysburg, who are eager to add the property to the tax rolls and have the property's water system transferred to the town.

"We have waited a long time for this as a community, and we're hoping the sale will go through," said Myrton Sprague, supervisor for the Town of Perrysburg, which has a population of 2,700.

"The (former hospital) is just sitting there deteriorating, and we're thankful that Trathen Land Co. is willing to try to salvage what they can," Sprague said.

David Swift, a former National Park Service ranger whose home borders a section of the woods for sale, disagrees. He thinks that logging the forest is wrong for Perrysburg, but would support a limited timber auction conducted by the City of Buffalo if it bought time for a better solution to be found.

"My main concern is the preservation of the woods and the wildlife, and the quality of the air and the watershed," Swift said.

Francyzk said he shares those concerns. He wants a 1998 environmental study to be updated and believes that it is required. Empire State Development contends that the earlier review was adequate.

Trathen said he would adopt a forest-management plan that takes a long-range view.

"Our goal as a forestry company is to see land stay in a productive forest, versus the land being stripped or clear-cut. We know the right things to do for the forest."

The land for what began as a tuberculosis sanitarium was donated by then-Mayor James Noble Adam in 1910. It opened two years later bearing his name. The self-sustaining complex included a dairy, greenhouses and a zoo.

It also generated its own power, with three steam boilers and two electric generators.

The hospital was converted in 1960 as an adjunct of the former Gowanda Psychiatric Center. In 1987, it became part of the mental retardation service system, closing in 1993.

Some of the original hospital buildings are still used for offices, and seven group homes are located on the site.

Karen Blake, a former Cattaraugus County legislator, faults Empire State Development for failing to take the town's suggestions for future use and taking an unimaginative approach in marketing the properties.

"One of the things that upsets me is that the only bidders seem to be loggers," she said. "I have thought there is a lot more potential in that property than just for timber."

Blake thinks that the property would make an ideal retreat or senior citizens center. Other ideas have included a summer educational center for inner-city youth.

Trathen said that his logging company has a history of managing multiple-use properties and is getting an undeserved bad rap.

"It's a benefit that an organization like ours is involved, and that's basically not being appreciated. For the land to go under our stewardship is a break for the property, and for everyone concerned," Trathen said.

Trathen Land would be responsible for tearing down and repairing deteriorating structures, removing asbestos and excavating a dump site. Those expenses alone could cost millions, he said.

Trathen said he would decide what buildings to rehabilitate after an architectural engineer makes an evaluation.

Francyzk believes that some of the buildings designed by Coxhead -- who also designed Delaware Avenue Baptist Church -- are eligible for the State Registry of Historic Places. He has asked the state for an opinion.

He and others have also expressed concern about a yellow and gold glass dome many believe was in the Pan-American Exposition's Temple of Music, the site of President William McKinley's assassination in 1901.

Trathen has agreed to get the city's consent should changes with the dome be considered.

Melissa Brown, collections manager of the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society, said blueprints and photographs of the Temple of Music prove that it was not there; neither is there evidence that it came from other buildings at the Buffalo World's Fair.

"It's an urban myth," Brown said.

The Council is expected to vote Tuesday, and proponents of the sale appear short of the six votes needed for passage.

Blake, a critic of the sale, said, "So many people in Western New York have emotional and historic ties here. It's not just a piece of abandoned property."


GRAPHIC: Ronald J. Colleran/Buffalo News David Swift, a former National Park Service ranger who lives nearby, doesn't want a company to log woods around this former hospital in Perrysburg. Buffalo's Common Council may decide Tuesday whether those plans go forward.

January 12, 2005 Wednesday




The Common Council on Tuesday rejected the state's plan to sell a 650-acre site in Perrysburg to a logging company, prompting Mayor Anthony M. Masiello to say that the vote "makes no sense."

In a 5-4 vote, the Council sent a message to Albany that it wants to see a new deal before giving up the city's reversionary interests in the Cattaraugus County site. Some lawmakers said there were no written guarantees that the campus of the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center would be managed in an environmentally responsible way.

Other lawmakers questioned the terms of a deal that would have given Buffalo 90 percent of the purchase price, or $333,900. The site was once home to the city's tuberculosis hospital.

Council President David A. Franczyk, who was the first official to raise concerns about the sale, said the vote sends a signal to the state Dormitory Authority.

"We want the state to go back to the drawing board and work with us to do a development that we can all be proud of," he said.

Joining Franczyk in voting to deny the proposal were Dominic J. Bonifacio of Niagara, Richard A. Fontana of Lovejoy, Joseph Golombek Jr. of North and James D. Griffin of South.

Some lawmakers believe the site could be redeveloped in a way that brings even more revenue to the city, a claim that sale advocates have challenged. The plan would have sold the site to Trathen Land Co. of York.

President Thomas S. Trathen, who one week earlier said he would be "shocked" if the Council didn't approve the plan, learned about its defeat from a reporter.

"Obviously I'm very disappointed with the decision," he said, adding that the company will have to study its options.

State control board officials and the Masiello administration supported the deal, claiming the city needs the revenue.

"It's hard to justify keeping a site that's 40 miles from Buffalo with buildings on it that are in disrepair," said Masiello. "It makes no sense."

Some have warned that if the state gives the site to the city, Buffalo would be saddled with potential liability and additional costs.

In other action, the Council:

Unanimously approved a plan that, if approved by Masiello, would give tax breaks to homeowners who make major improvements to their properties. Assessment "rebates" would be given to residents who make improvements in excess of $5,000 -- rehabilitation projects that typically result in increased assessments and higher tax bills.

Majority Leader Marc A. Coppola, the bill's lead sponsor, said property owners would receive a 100 percent exemption from paying additional taxes on the capital improvements in the first year. The exemptions would gradually decline until they are phased out in the ninth year.

Unanimously approved what some consider a compromise for funding the construction of new firehouses. The state control board wanted the Council to reconsider plans to sell bonds to build two new fire stations and expand a third. The oversight panel wanted lawmakers to use state funds that have been set aside for re-engineering services.


January 19, 2005 Wednesday




If the Common Council prevents the state from selling a Perrysburg site to a logging company, Buffalo could be forced to take back the property and shoulder all the risks, a state official warned Tuesday.

The comment infuriated Council President David A. Franczyk, who characterized it as a threat and said he won't be bullied by a "visionless bureaucracy" in Albany.

The Council voted, 5-4, last week to reject the state's plan to sell the campus of the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center to Trathen Land Co. of York. Some lawmakers want written guarantees that the 650-acre site will be managed in an environmentally responsible way. Others think the city could get a better deal.

The state has offered to give Buffalo 90 percent of the sale price, or $333,900, in return for the city's relinquishing its reversionary rights. The Cattaraugus County property includes dozens of buildings, many in disrepair.

Marc Ganz, director of real property for the state Dormitory Authority, met Tuesday with the Council's Finance Committee. He told lawmakers they have one week to decide whether they will give up Buffalo's interests so that the sale can be finalized or risk seeing the property returned to the city.

"This is not a negotiation. We are asking you merely to make a choice here without further delay," said Ganz.

Officials on both sides seemed to imply that if the deadlock drags on much longer, a judge may ultimately have to decide which entity is responsible for future costs at the site. Some city officials said they don't believe the state can just hand over the deed without Buffalo's first accepting the property.

While Franczyk reiterated his willingness to discuss a possible compromise, he said he was turned off by Ganz's attitude.

"You don't get very far by making threats," said Franczyk. "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

Meanwhile, Ganz seemed to question lawmakers' priorities. "We urge you to attend to Buffalo instead of Perrysburg, to Forest Avenue instead of Perrysburg Forest, to Erie County instead of Cattaraugus County," he said.

Also attending the meeting were Myrton Sprague, supervisor for the Town of Perrysburg, and Anthony Kota, mayor of the Village of Perrysburg.

They said most residents support the sale to Trathen Land Co., and not just because the deal includes transferring the site's water system to Perrysburg to meet pressing needs.

"We feel it's a fair offer," he said. "With all liabilities there, we don't think you'll get anything better."


January 24, 2005 Monday



I feel obligated to clear up a few misconceptions in a recent letter about the sale of J.N. Adams Developmental Center in Perrysburg. This project was undertaken more than a year ago, and all proper city and state officials were notified at that time.

As for the parcel between Hooker Hill Road and Edward's Corners Road, it is 155 acres, not 50 acres. There has not been any marking of trees or high grading for silviculture there or, for that matter, on any of the 650 acres by Trathen Land Co.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has conducted environmental impact studies on logging for years, and considers it "a temporary disturbance." We also adhere to New York State Forestry Best Management Practices. The utmost consideration is given to protecting water and erosion control.

The buildings on the site are in such a state of disrepair that it would be financially unfeasible to consider reconstruction. Just ask any resident or maintenance worker in Perrysburg. A drive by the facility does not tell the whole story.

Yes, it is a very beautiful campus setting. The Trathen group has been educating people in New York, Pennsylvania and Canada for as long as we have been in business. We welcome any visitors to our facilities and land holdings in Western New York who would like further information.

Brett Lefford

Land Manager, Trathen Land Co. Copyright 2005 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

January 25, 2005 Tuesday




Western New York's most senior state lawmaker has warned the Common Council that if it continues to stall a Perrysburg land deal, the state should reconsider helping Buffalo in its struggle to make an economic rebound.

At least one Council member described the letter from State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, as "blackmail."

Volker questioned the Council's 5-4 vote two weeks ago against allowing the state to sell the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center in Cattaraugus County to a logging company.

In return for giving up its rights to the return of the 650-acre site, which it once owned, the city would receive 90 percent of the sale price, or $333,900.

City officials released Volker's letter Monday after a Council caucus.

"The City of Buffalo needs the state to help them out of its current financial situation," Volker wrote. "Denying a legitimate sale such as this is a clear sign that the city does not desire to cooperate with the state and that the state should strongly reconsider its future investment in Buffalo's needed turnaround."

Council President David A. Franczyk, the first lawmaker to question environmental and fiscal aspects of the deal, blasted Volker's letter.

"I thought it was blackmail," he said. "All these threats and blackmail won't move this issue forward."

Franczyk told Council members some "positive movement" was made Friday after he spoke with an official from Trathen Land Co., the York-based timber harvester that wants to buy the site. Franczyk said discussions have involved possibly stronger guarantees that the land would be managed in an environmentally responsible way. But he added that questions remain about the fiscal terms.

Last week, an official from the state Dormitory Authority warned that if the Council failed to pave the way for the land sale this week, Buffalo could be forced to take back the property and shoulder the risks.

If the Council continues to "needlessly stall" the sale, Volker warned, he would have no choice but to support transferring the property to the city. He said the move would saddle Buffalo with the cleanup costs; environmental remedies; unpaid school, county and local taxes; and liability for dozens of buildings on the site.

"This is an additional debt burden the city residents neither need or deserve," Volker wrote.

But at Monday's caucus, Franczyk fired back his own warning. He said the city would have solid legal ground to sue state economic development officials for improperly maintaining many buildings on the site.

e-mail: Copyright 2005 The Buffalo News
Buffalo News (New York)

January 31, 2005 Monday


I have a personal interest in the management of J.N. Adam Developmental Center in Perrysburg. As a boy, my father lived at the facility for three years as a tuberculosis patient.

And I am in the timber and timberland business.

After inspection, I found trees marked for harvest below the recommended size, including the parcel between Hooker Hill and Edwards Corners. Some trees are inferior and should be culled and replanted to ensure forest integrity.

Almost all of these marked trees, 8 to 10 inches wide, are of sufficient quality to render future revenue in the form of grade timber. They need time to mature. Temporary disturbance will only occur when a strict harvest plan is implemented.

A strict plan "guarantees" harvesting mature timber only, removing tops from the forest, replanting rare Black Cherry saplings and maintenance and erosion control. This guarantees healthy forests and lucre revenue indefinitely.

The buildings' interiors and exteriors are beautifully constructed of steel, concrete, brick and marble, far from the poor state that Trathen Land Co. would like the City of Buffalo to believe. Demolition is ludicrous. The city could gain from future sales of these buildings separately or as a whole without spending a penny.

The Common Council has legal and moral responsibilities to preserve and or market Buffalo's interests to the best of its abilities, for Buffalo and Perrysburg.

Jim Mancuso

Buffalo Timber, Forestville

February 4, 2005 Friday



There is a proposal on the table to sell at a give-away price some heavenly forested land owned by the City of Buffalo. This is the Perrysburg property, the former J.N. Adam Developmental Center site in Cattaraugus County.

It consists of about 650 acres.

There are not many old growth forests left in our area. For those who love nature, and old trees, it is priceless. The idea of selling it far below its market value is so foolish it should not be considered. In fact, I hope the forest can be preserved.

I understand the Buffalo Common Council has not rushed to approve the sale, and I hope they reject it out of hand. I also hope that those who read this letter will urge Council President David Franczyk and the other Council members to say no and to thank them for not being rushed to make a decision.

I believe the New York State Quality Review Law is applicable here, that there should be an environmental review, that citizens should be informed, and allowed to comment. Others who feel the same should let the Buffalo Common Council members know their feelings.

Charles Lamb, Youngstown

Artspace ArchiveAnnals of NeglectBAVPAWhere is Perrysburg?Broken Promises...
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