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Public housing to replace downtrodden Niagara Falls structures

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Ashley Hirtzel
/
WBFO

New public housing will be built in the City of Niagara Falls. The Walnut Avenue Homes will include 41 new units that will span over several blocks. A groundbreaking ceremony for the project took place Tuesday.

The $12 million project will replace underutilized and deteriorated vacant lots and buildings. Eight historic structures will be rehabbed as part of the project, including the former Niagara Falls Board of Education Administration building. 

The new structures will feature high-quality and affordable apartments for families. Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says the project will restore the neighborhood to its former grandeur.

“There are units specifically adapted for people with disabilities, including people that have mobility issues, but also people who are hearing impaired. It incorporates all the latest energy efficiency improvements. It takes advantage of proximity to public transit routes, as well as local employers,” said Dyster.

Housing Visions is the non-profit bringing the housing project to Niagara Falls. Vice President of Business Development Ben Lockwood says the apartments will fill a crucial need for local families.

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Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
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WBFO
Local officials celebrated the ground breaking of the Walnut Avenue Homes to be built in Niagara Falls.

“This really can provide a safe, decent, affordable place and that may be the difference between people working 80 hours a week and 40 hours a week. Not that we want to dissuade people from working 80 hours a week if they choose to do that, but if you have a family and you’re working 80 hours a week do you have that opportunity to be with your children? Those are good things that help improve families and communities, quite frankly,
 said Lockwood.

Lockwood says potential residents will go through an income, reference, credit and background check. The first units are expected to be available by next summer. The full build-out will be complete in early 2016.