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Proposed Niagara County first response hub moving forward

WBFO file photo

There are funds in place and partners ready to move in. A local state lawmaker says what needs to happen next is for the federal government to transfer ownership of land so that a proposed emergency service and first responder hub can be built in Niagara County.

The proposed Western New York First Response and Preparedness Center would be located on the site of the former U.S. Army Reserve station on Porter Road in the Town of Niagara, directly south of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.


State Senator Robert Ortt, while attending the final deployment of C-130 planes from the Niagara Falls air base on Monday, provided an update on a project that he and other elected officials first introduced last summer.

Ortt says $1 million is now committed to the project. Half of it was first announced last summer while the other half was secured earlier this year.

"There's a steering group made up of people from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, Niagara County Emergency Management, Town of Niagara, Niagara County Legislature, all local stakeholders," Ortt said.

A key tenant, Mercy Flight, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of Niagara and Niagara County, Ortt added. Mercy Flight, along with the Niagara County Sheriff's Aviation Unit, are expected to keep helicopters on the hub site. Other potential tenants may include the NFTA Police, New York Air National Guard and Army National Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Red Cross, and state and local police. 

The senator hopes the next hurdle is cleared later this year.

"Really, the major next step is for the federal government to actually sign the land over to the Town of Niagara," Ortt said. "They were really waiting for sort of a compelling reason. We have that now, so we expect that to hopefully happen this summer."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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