CANASERAGA — The fight to save a piece of history on Main Street Canaseraga and reopen North Church Street is still raging in the small community.
The Kingston Hotel had a nasty hit when part of its wall came crashing down on the North Church Street side of the historic building. Since that day the road has been shut down due to safety reasons.
On March 25 the Canaseraga Village Board and Allegany County Legislators met with the community to talk about how to move forward on these concerns.
Allegany County Legislator Philip Curran answered questions from concerned citizens along with Canaseraga Mayor Peggy Sleight.
The main concern is when the county will reopen North Church Street. Curran said that the county is waiting for the owner of The Kingston Hotel, Chuck Mann, to hire an engineer and get the building stabilized.
“We need an engineer to sign off that the building is strong enough for us to reopen the road,”Curran said. “There are heavy trucks that drive up that road. That building can’t handle any shaking right now, or more bricks are going to fall off. This is a safety factor.”
Sleight said that the village attorneys have been brought in to handle the situation with The Kingston Hotel. Once they have the documents ready, the information will be presented to the public on what to do next.
“You don’t know the red tape we need to go through in order to get these legal documents. Even the previous mayor was working on it. Right now our village attorney is on it to try and get Mr. Mann to move on the building,” she said. “He is not responding to any of our phone calls. The village attorney is in control now. We will hope to have an engineer report soon. We hope he will work on it quicker if the village attorney is involved.”
Curran said that the village board has done what it can to move forward on this situation.
Burns Councilwoman Dianne Freiner said that The Kingston Hotel has too much history to give up on it. Freiner mentioned how Mann put thousands of dollars into the building when Bill Dibble owned it, and that is how he took ownership of the building.
“We want to restore the historic buildings in the historic district, and I believe it can still be done,” she said. “We can all at least look at the options we have to save them. We have talked about getting grant money before the building wall fell down.”
Freiner added that former state Sen. Cathy Young had given them a letter about a $250,000 grant for the Hotel Canaseraga restoration. It is grants like this that can be used for the restoration ideas for the rest of the historic district.
Former Burns Supervisor Lauren Oliver said that he wants to see more business come into the community, and there is a strong workforce in the town.
“We are right at the corner of three big counties. We have a big enough draw to bring in tax revenue to the county. If we can bring business down here it would bring revenue into the county too,” he said. “The biggest problem I had when I was supervisor was that there was too much negativity in the community. If you do something good they think it won’t work. If something doesn’t work out they want to know why. The village and town have never gotten along. We all need to work together.”
Oliver said that in order to make the community a better place to live, everyone needs to be more positive thinking.
The meeting concluded with local and county officials agreeing to wait on the village attorney report.
On April 11 at the Canaseraga American Legion the Burns Town Board will meet with the community at 4 p.m. to talk about a possible Solar Farm going up at 961F and Route 36. There is about 500 acres at the training center available for the farm.