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Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity accepts donation from SmartDESIGNarchitecture

By Press Release
Pictured from left to right: Edwin Smart, Martha Bailey, Jaylene Smith-Kilner, Arielle McVay

Press Release:

Edwin Smart, Owner and president of SmartDESIGN Architecture, and Martha Bailey, SDA Office Manager, present Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County with a check. This money was raised from their 3rd annual SDA Golf Outing in partnership with Habitat. Accepting the donation from Habitat are Jaylene Smith-Kilner, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, and Arielle McVay, Board President.

Annual HFH yard sale begins on Friday in Batavia

By Joanne Beck
Habitat yard sale

Due to Saturday's poor weather forecast, the annual Habitat for Humanity yard sale will begin a day early this year, organizer Angelina Pellegrino says. Shopping is set to begin at 10 a.m. Friday at 150 State St., Batavia, and continue through the weekend. 

Proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County.

File photo by Howard Owens.

'Mad love' for Habitat, says new Oak Street homeowner

By Howard B. Owens
Terry Smith

It was no accident that brought together a group of caring people at 50 Oak St., Batavia, on Saturday, said Pastor Vern Saile before blessing the new home of Terry Smith and his family.

"What strikes me is how many people came together to make this possible for you," Saile said. "I believe that God brought those people together for you. You know, the Bible says, 'Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.' I have no doubt that the Lord has built this house for you, Terry. And it's his love that started this project. It is his love that carried it through, and it is his love that will carry it forward."

Smith started the home acquisition process with Genesee County Habitat for Humanity nearly five years ago.  It meant a lot to him, he said, to provide a home for his children, one they can count on as permanent for the rest of their childhoods. 

The house was a tax-lien foreclosure by the City of Batavia that the city transferred to Habitat rather than put it up for auction.

"The ability of the City of Batavia to encourage rehabilitation of houses and promotion of single-family home ownership is enhanced by the strategy to move foreclosed properties into a program like Habitat for Humanity,"  said City Manager Rachael J. Tabelski. "The restoration of homes, and the ability to match families, who are ready to make the move to home ownership, and adds exponential value to neighborhoods, as opposed to auctioning the property into the rental market.”

Jaylene Smith-Kilner, executive director of Habitat, thanked a long list of people who made this home, Habitat's 26th build, possible, from government officials and agencies to small business owners and local volunteers and donors.

Smith said that effort that help was a  blessing and that he is excited for his kids.

He's watched Habitat, along with his own labor as part of the process, transform an old house into a beautiful home.

"Seeing the process from it being completely gutted to how it is now, it's just so crazy process," Smith said. "It's a crazy process, and they did a good job. I got mad love for all the Habitat family community."

Terry Smith

Marianne Newmark, with USDA Rural Development, discussed how her agency assists potential Habitat for Humanity homeowners get the financing necessary to close on their house.

They help the homeowner secure low-interest, longer-term loans so they have affordable house payments.

"We love partnering with Habitat for that, and that Habitat takes these houses and makes them beautiful, and really renovates them to the point where the homeowners don't have to worry about, 'Oh no, I just bought this house, and I have to do so much work on top of my new mortgage payment,'" Newmark said. "They take a lot of that stress out of the way in the beginning."


Got stuff? The third annual Yard Sale for HFH has a place for it, event is May 20-21

By Joanne Beck


Tucked between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day weekends is another annual two-day event that organizer Angelina Pellegrino hopes is the “best one yet.”

It’s the third annual Yard Sale for Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County, and the fundraiser comes in handy for household spring cleanings, she says. Get ready to shop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 20 and 21 at 150 State St., Batavia.

“We’re spreading the word now so that we may collect as many items as we can … all proceeds go directly to the next family moving in,” Pellegrino said Tuesday. “As being the eighth habitat homeowner in Genesee County, my family and I like to give back to such a tremendous organization. I know people will be spring cleaning as the weather continues to get nicer, and instead of tossing out what they don’t want or donating it elsewhere, we could really use any donations at this time.”

Nothing is off limits for donations, she said, from clothing to small furniture and other household items, as long as they are items that people would want to buy.

Those picture frames you have no use for? Kitchen gadgets that just sit in the pantry? End tables that no longer fit the new living room decor? Clothing that’s now a size too big? Or maybe those Christmas decorations that don’t get used when you’re vacationing in the winter? Check, check, and check — pack them up and bring ‘em on over.

Habitat homes are either built from the ground up or renovated and require some sweat equity from the future owners and the typical maintenance and financial commitments once they’re in, and Pellegrino has said that extra spending money would be most welcome for those extra needs around the home.

The nonprofit isn’t about giving families a house but a belief that “we invest in people’s futures when we invest in housing,” the agency states online. Its latest prospective homeowner signed a contract on March 14.

People can drop off their items at 150 State St., Batavia, or Pellegrino will pick them up.

For more information or to arrange for pick-up, call her at 585-356-4867 or email [email protected].

File Photo of Angelina Pellegrino at a past Habitat yard sale, by Howard Owens.

Video: Family ready to move into Habitat home on Clifton Avenue

By Howard B. Owens
Video Sponsor
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For Fallon Walenski, her new house on Clifton Avenue in Batavia isn't just home; it's a dream come true -- a place she can eventually pay off and leave to her children, a place where her children can play in a yard and have rooms of their own.

Walenski helped volunteers with Habitat for Humanity build the house from the ground up, and on Monday she cut the ribbon to celebrate her venture into home ownership.

Angelina Pellegrino hosting benefit spring yard sale on State Street

By Howard B. Owens


If you've got nice things around your house that you no longer want, Angelina Pellegrino is ready to sell it for you, with all proceeds benefiting a family moving into a Habitat for Humanity home.

Pellegrino, herself a beneficiary of Habitat's homeownership program, has had previous garage sales to benefit the organization or its clients.

She's now collecting donations for the yard sale at her home, 150 State St., Batavia, on May 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There are two Habitat homes near completion and Pellegrino said proceeds from this year's yard sale will go directly to the families moving into those homes.

"It's start-up cash," Pellegrino said.  "It's for the little things you need around the house that you don't really think about." 

If you have items to donate -- and it can be pretty much anything that somebody else might want to buy -- you can contact Pellegrino at (585) 356-4867 or [email protected].

"I know people will be spring cleaning and instead of tossing out what they don't want or donating it elsewhere, we could really use any donations at this time," Pellegrino said. "There is nothing really is off-limits for donations, from clothes to furniture. I am willing to pick up donations or people may drop them off at my house."

Golf tournament hosted by smartDESIGN raises more than $3K for Habitat for Humanity

By Press Release


Press release:

On August 24, 2021, smartDESIGN Architecture, PLLC hosted its first annual golf outing. This year, smartDESIGN chose Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County as the charitable beneficiary. The tournament was a great success – raising $3,420 for Habitat for Humanity and an additional $390 from a basket raffle.

Habitat for Humanity provides housing to those in need by partnering with families to provide a hand up, not a handout. The mission of Habitat cannot be fulfilled without the support and generosity of local community members. Habitat is incredibly grateful for the generosity offered by smartDESIGN. To learn how you can help, please visit

Photo: Jake Whiting (Habitat Board President); Jaylene Smith-Kilner (Habitat Executive Director); Martha Bailey (smartDESIGN Office Manager); and Ed Smart (smartDESIGN Owner and Principal)

State Street resident 'rock'-in and rollin' to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County

By Mike Pettinella


With help from her family and friends, a City of Batavia resident is expressing her appreciation and sharing her talent to support the local organization that made home ownership a reality.

Angelina Pellegrino of 150 State St. is conducting a yard sale – featuring clothing, household items and her original painted rocks – until 3 o’clock this afternoon and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County.

“We moved into our home – which is the eighth Habitat for Humanity home in Genesee County -- about 10 years ago, and I am trying to get the word out there about such a wonderful program,” she said. “While a lot of people hear about Habitat, unfortunately, they don’t know what it is.”

Affectionally known as the “rock lady (although she prefers “rock artist”), Pellegrino said she has been selling rocks for the past year with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.

“Then I decided to have a yard sale and get the community involved,” she said. “The outpouring of support and donations from everybody has been amazing.”

Pellegrino, whose family includes husband, Matt Wolff, and children, Mikalina, Carmelina and Lorenzo, is on the local Habitat’s fundraising committee but said the yard sale is something they wanted to do on their own to promote the nonprofit enterprise.

She said she has received plenty of assistance getting things set up from her mom, Sue, and brother, Vinnie, as well as cousin, Jennie Barone; aunt, Tina Adams; best friend, Chrissy Morgan, and neighbors, Deb Romasser and Gretchen Franke.

“This is the first time for the yard sale. We’ve been collecting things from people, and The Batavian, Video News Service and WBTA have been helpful in getting the word out,” she said. “People have been dropping off things for over a month. My house is completed overloaded with all of this.”

Pellegrino also is selling her painted rocks, with the smaller ones going for a $5 donation and the larger boulders available for donations of $15 to $20.

“I paint, usually on canvas, but one day I started doing some gardening outside and thought that I would put some rocks around my tree. And I thought, they need to be colored. After that, it needs to be bigger,” she explained. “So, I started adding to it and before you know it, I went into my neighbor’s yard with them. It’s really taken off as there are probably more than 200 out here now.”

She looked back on the decision to apply for a Habitat for Humanity home as a life-changing experience.

“I was a renter in Batavia and I was told by somebody to apply for Habitat,” she said. “You have to have good credit and fall in line with certain income requirements – you have to make enough but not too much – and they get homes and rebuild them.”

The family’s home on State Street, across from Centennial Park, was completely gutted, said Pellegrino, who recently put on an addition in the back for her to operate her hair salon business.

“What Habitat does is make it possible for people to get a home. It’s a wonderful thing, at a fraction of the cost,” she said. “With Habitat homes, you also put in ‘sweat equity’ so for a certain amount of the time that they’re rebuilding it, you also have to help rebuild it.

“You learn the ins-and-outs of your home. I sided my house in 30-degree weather. I insulated it. You know your home and you take pride it in afterwards because you really worked hard on it.”


For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County, go to




Photos: At top, Angelina Pellegrino welcomes community residents to her home at 150 State St. for a yard (and rock) sale to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County; bottom, Pellegrino, an artist, holds a rock featuring Big Gay Al of the South Park TV show, and photos of a couple of her creations. The 'We're All Mad Here' rock is not for sale, but the 'Crocodile Rock' is. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

'Rock woman' on State Street in the city to host yard sale May 15-16 to benefit Habitat for Humanity

By Billie Owens

From Angelina Pellegrino:

On Saturday and Sunday May 15 and 16, I am hosting a yard sale at my house at 150 State St. in Batavia. Time both days is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

All the proceeds are going to the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity.

Most of my rocks are up for purchase/ donation as well. There are many new ones I have put out this year.

I encourage everyone If they are Spring cleaning and are getting rid of any items, including toys clothes furniture, etc. to donate them for this sale. I will pick your stuff up or you can drop it off.

[email protected]

DPW director urges Council to contract with NYPA to convert city-owned street lights

By Mike Pettinella

The Batavia City Council is on board with a “bright idea” to convert the community-owned street lighting system to light-emitting diode (LED) technology and potentially cut costs substantially in the process.

At tonight’s Council meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, Public Works Director Matt Worth presented the plan to contract with the New York Power Authority to purchase new street light fixtures for all 772 city-owned lights on the four arterial routes, emphasizing that the city could realize annual savings of $42,493.77 after paying off a 14-year loan.

The arterial roads are routes 5 (Main Street), 33 (Pearl Street), 63 (Ellicott Street) and 98 (Oak Street).

Noting that he and Water/Wastewater Superintendent Bill Davis have been working on this for almost two years, Worth said it would be best to start with the fixtures that are owned by the city.

“We’ve been looking at ways to be more efficient with the street lighting system,” Worth said, adding that the city owns the lights on the arterials while National Grid owns the lights on residential and side streets.

“We’ve looked at different methods to try to make it more efficient and less costly to the ratepayers, and what we’ve found is the Public Service Commission and some of the regulations you have to go through to try to obtain the utility-owned street lighting system or to depreciate it out so you can replace it with newer, higher efficient fixtures are somewhat – I don’t want to say convoluted, but it can be very difficult. There’s a little bit of lack of confidence in what that cost actually is and whether the city is receiving fair value to go that route.”

So, instead he proposes the city join forces with the NYPA, a nonprofit entity that operates the power grid across the state and also provides “low-cost energy solutions for municipalities along the way.”

He explained that the NYPA will change the fixture heads on the arterials, including decorative ones, to an LED bulbs – “so it won’t be the yellowish color of the high-pressure sodium to a less expensive power usage LED white light.

Worth said the cost of the project is $549,033.33 and would be paid off over 14 years. The city would save $3,277.12 each year over those 14 years, but after the debt is paid off, annual savings would jump to $42,493.77.

He said the city would have all new fixtures, lower operation and maintenance costs, better light quality and reduced energy consumption.

“The attractiveness of this program is NYPA really offers a turnkey program,” he said. “We are staffed so lean right now that is very difficult for us to dedicate time to hire contractors and to engage with the consultants to try to do this on our own. NYPA will engage the design professional and they will design the system. They have already estimated the cost.

“Most of the procurement contracts are already in place, so they know how much these fixtures are going to cost. So, they’re able to estimate this very tightly and have given us a very conservative estimate …”

Worth said he is confident in the project, and said NYPA will either extend or shorten the financing term depending upon the final cost.

“The idea is (the) cost of your street lighting system … remains as is until the financing is paid off and then you’ll receive a large savings,” he said. “But in the interim, you get the benefit of a whole brand-new street lighting system and the city isn’t maintaining older fixtures, replacing lamps, and the LEDs have a much longer life.”

Following his report, Council agreed to move to the Oct. 13 Business Meeting a resolution to execute an agreement with the NYPA in the amount of $549,033.33 for the replacement of the city-owned street lights with LED lighting.

Also moved to the Business Meeting for likely voting:

  • A resolution to transfer a foreclosed residence at 50 Oak St., to Habitat for Humanity for rehabilitation. The organization plans to invest between $58,000 and $62,000 to renovate the one-family house, which is assessed at $62,000. Council members Rose Mary Christian, Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Robert Bialkowski praised Habitat for Humanity for its continuing efforts to provide affordable housing in the city.
  • A resolution to schedule a public hearing on Oct. 26 to amend the Batavia Municipal Code to include public garages in I-1 industrial zones with a special use permit. This change stems from a January request by Eric Biscaro, owner of Classic Home Improvement, to construct an auto service station on the Ellicott Street property. Worth said Council would be charged with voting it into a local law, with adoption expected to take place in December.
  • A resolution to take $5,000 out of the Facilities Reserve Fund to close out the City Centre roof alterations and replacement project that was performed by Grove Roofing Services. Worth said the project has been generally successful with the new roof area being water-tight and structurally improved. He said the cost of the project increased due to finding an additional 3,700 square feet of decking that needed to be replaced. He said that all of the roof has been repaired or replaced except the hallway in front of Dan’s Tire Service.

Habitat for Humanity Women Build seeks community sponsors for August project

By Lauren Leone

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County is seeking sponsorship for its next Women Build Day construction project in August.

For the first time in seven years of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build, crucial funding for the build has been pulled since Lowe’s, the major sponsor of the build, shifted its funding to larger areas.

This loss, however, won't silence the sounds of nail pounding and wood cutting. Rather, it presents a new opportunity for community businesses and organizations to sponsor the work of the Women Build volunteers.

The upcoming build next month is an offshoot of Habitat for Humanity’s National Women Build Week in May. The weeklong event recognizes women in construction trades and encourages women to hone their construction skills while helping deserving families. 

All volunteer teams will build under the supervision of a construction leader who will assist their group throughout the workday. No prior experience is needed to volunteer for the Women Build, and equipment will be provided.

The build will occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 3 at Northgate Free Methodist Church's South Campus, located at 350 Bank St., Batavia.

Women will work in teams to assemble walls, which will be transported to Habitat’s new construction home at 45 Clifton Ave., Batavia, at a later date. Past Women Build houses include locations on Oak Street, East Main Street and Harvester Avenue in Batavia.

The site at 45 Clifton Ave. will become home to a hard-working mother of three who is excited about the opportunity of homeownership through Habitat for Humanity’s program. Habitat hopes to raise $5,000 from now to Sept. 3 for this build. 

“As a community, we are going to raise $5,000 to make affordable homeownership a reality for [the homeowner] and her children," said Lauren Casey, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County. "And even more, on Aug. 3, nearly 60 volunteers will work to physically advance the construction of her home.” 

Businesses are encouraged to visit Habitat’s website here to donate to Women Build 2019 and support its mission to provide safe, decent and affordable housing for families in the community. Sponsors can also make gift-in-kind donations, including labor and building materials.

Habitat extends its gratitude to local businesses that support Habitat’s goals through these generous donations. Interested sponsors can contact Habitat’s office at (585) 345-1656 or email [email protected] to learn more about Women Build 2019.

Video: Habitat for Humanity dedicates remodeled home on East Main Street, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


Video Sponsor
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Habitat for Humanity, with new homeowner Lisa Paul-Kahn and her daughter Zahara, dedicated their 22nd home project in Genesee County. This one is on East Main Street, Batavia.

The house was donated by Susan Blackburn and Bill Baskin in the memory of a former employee, Jayson Dersham, who died in an automobile accident in February 2017.

Santa Day is Saturday at Oliver's Candies, will help support Habitat for Humanity

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County teams up with Oliver’s Candies, located at 211 W. Main St. in Batavia, for Santa Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.

Come visit Santa, shop for sweets and enjoy a petting zoo! There will also be hot dogs for sale! A hot dog, bag of chips and a soda can be purchased for $3.

You can also help build Habitat’s next home by “Sponsoring a Stud.” Sign your name or write a message on a 2 in. x 4 in. for a donation of $1 and it will be added to Habitat’s current project at 6 Manhattan Ave. in the City of Batavia.

All purchases and donations benefit Habitat’s mission to provide decent, affordable housing to families in the community. As always, Habitat thanks you for your support.

City Council lays out welcome mat for Batavia Players to move their act downtown

By Mike Pettinella

To lease or not to lease … that is the question.

Batavia City Council members answered that line with a resounding yes tonight, approving by a 7-1 margin a resolution to enter into a lease agreement with Batavia Players that opens the door for the theatrical troupe to make a new home at the downtown City Centre.

“I cannot wait until they come into the mall,” said Council member Patti Pacino. “It’s just a wonderful way to bring people downtown where they will get into the habit before we open Eli Fish, before we fill the Carr’s department store (so) we’ve already got people down there. It’s just a delightful idea.”

Pacino joined Adam Tabelski, Kathleen Briggs, Al McGinnis, Paul Viele, John Canale and Council President Eugene Jankowski in voting in favor of the agreement to allow Batavia Players to lease space at parcels 2, 35 and 39 Batavia City Centre (sharing space in one of the parcels with Dent Neurologic Institute). Rose Mary Christian was at an out-of-town conference.

Robert Bialkowski cast the “no” vote, contending that the lease contains inaccuracies and loopholes, and that it keeps the City in an unenviable position as a landlord.

“My position is you draw a lease and you draw it properly – you don’t have all these errors in it, and I’ve never heard of a lease saying, ‘We don’t include utilities, you go work it out with the other guy who is paying for it,’” he said. “This is how you end up in court with lawsuits.”

Bialkowski disputed the monthly rent figure in the lease for months seven through 12, stating that it should be $2,243.76 instead of the $1,223.86, based on $3 per square foot for the 8,975 square feet to be rented by Batavia Players.

Interim City Manager Matt Worth acknowledged that the original draft had the wrong amount, but said that it had been corrected.

Bialkowski also questioned whether the City would be responsible for repairs and utilities, and pushed for his colleagues to put the space up for sale.

“I don’t believe in the City sitting on property and being the landlord. It’s not the job of government to be a landlord,” he said afterwards. “It’s the job of government to take repossessed property from taxes or whatever, put them on the auction block and sell them.”

He also said the low rent per square footage ($1 per square foot for the first six months, $3 per square foot in months seven through 12, and $4 per square foot in months 13 through 60) created “an unfair competition” situation.

“There are plenty of places to rent downtown; they cannot rent for $2 a square foot – it’s impossible. So for the City to be renting below cost is ridiculous, and it’s unfair competition, I would say.”

Worth noted that the mall operation user fee charged to tenants is $2 per square foot, so – including property rented by Dent, “the total (rent collected) exceeds that amount (user fees).”

The lease calls for Batavia Players to be responsible for everything except structural repairs. As far as utilities are concerned, Dent is currently footing the bill.

In the end, Council took the view that the Batavia Players organization is a community asset and would be in a stronger position to recieve some of the $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative money by being able to stake its claim downtown.

Pacino said Batavia Players has a solid track record and is a popular family entertainment option – just what is needed downtown.

“Batavia Players has everybody acting from 5 years old to 100 years old,” she said. “Every one of those has a family that comes to see every one of their plays. Every time they come to a rehearsal, every time they have a play, they’re downtown where we’re trying to get people.

“Then they’re going to a place to get something to eat. On their way there, they’re putting gas in their car. They’re (Batavia Players) doing everything positive …They’ve already proven themselves where they are. They’re dependable, and they take responsibility.”

In other action, Council:

-- Voted unanimously to take $17,400 out of the former Vibrant Batavia funds to pay for the engineering and architectural costs to design a flood-compliant home for Genesee County Habitat for Humanity at 116 Swan St., but only after amending the resolution to make sure the City has full use of those plans for future home building in a flood zone.

Bialkowski wondered aloud if the City would take ownership of the documents, or if they would belong to Habitat for Humanity.

“I think that since the City is paying for the engineering, we should own the design. Then it would be public domain,” he said.

After a brief discussion, Council agreed, voting 8-0 on an amendment making the resolution contingent upon Habitat for Humanity sharing the plans (and making copies available to the City) for the public domain. Then the board voted 8-0 in favor of the resolution.

-- Scheduled public hearings for Feb. 26 on the 2018-19 budget, water rates, meter fees, capital improvement fees, and City Centre concourse user fees and to amend the Business Improvement District plan.

The $24.3 million budget comes with a tax rate of $8.99 per thousand of assessed valuation, down from $9.27 a year ago.

Water rates are set to go up by 3.5 percent -- Bialkowski cast the lone “no” vote on water rate increases, citing high poverty rates in the City -- and the capital improvement fee is set to go up by about 5 percent.

The City Centre Concourse user fee is in play due to the recent settlement between the City and the Mall Merchants. The fee is $2 per square foot, effective April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2012, and goes up to $2.04 in 2021-22 and $2.06 in 2022-23.

-- Voted to accept a low bid of $721,566 from Roman Construction Development Corp. of North Tonawanda to complete construction of 12,300 linear feet of sidewalk as part of the Healthy Schools Corridor Project.

-- Heard from Jankowski that the city manager search committee will be meeting Wednesday afternoon to look at proposals from seven search firms and is prepared to share its recommendation at the next Council meeting (Feb. 26).

City Council touts work of 'Habitat,' looks to vote on floodplain build proposal

By Mike Pettinella

Batavia City Council members voiced their support of Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County tonight as they agreed to consider a proposal to back to a building project in the flood zone on the City’s south side.

“Habitat for Humanity does an outstanding job, and the best thing about this project is that it’s going to be in the Sixth Ward,” said Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian, who represents residents of that district.

Habitat for Humanity leaders are seeking a $17,395 grant from the City to cover engineering and architectural costs to design a flood-compliant home at 116 Swan St.

Mike Fahey, Habitat for Humanity board president, said the funds are needed because the property is in the 100-year flood zone – and a complete demolition of the existing home is the only way the organization can make the project work.

“Habitat, about a year ago, acquired the property and we were not aware at that time that it was actually in the flood plain,” Fahey said following the Council meeting. “Because of that, we are required to meet FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) requirements to have the property acceptable to everyone, and to make sure that flood insurance can be obtained on the property at a reasonable cost to the homeowner.”

Calling it a “unique challenge” (as it is the first Habitat project in the City’s floodplain), Fahey said it also presents an opportunity “because we’ve always been concerned that the south side of the City of Batavia has not been usable for Habitat or allowed us to go in there and look at home sites because of the floodplain problem.”

The proposal before Council calls for the City to take money from the former Vibrant Batavia fund (there is $48,000 left) – paying half to Habitat when the building permit is obtained and half when there is a certificate of occupancy.

Matt Worth, interim city manager, said that the engineering and architectural design study would become “a blueprint for future (Habitat) homes.”

Fahey said that the design work would be the “property” of Habitat for Humanity, but the group would be willing “to use those plans on any property in the City needing FEMA requirement.”

The total cost of the project is $104,000, an amount that “would be too much for a homeowner,” Fahey said.

“It would exceed any mortgage that they could comfortably handle. So we’re asking for some money to offset the cost to Habitat for the engineering,” he said.

Fahey said the property is in terrible condition and has to be demolished.

“We attempted to see if we could elevate the property, but it’s structurally unsound so that is an additional cost that Habitat, itself, is going to accrue,” he said. “That will not be handed off to the homeowner.”

He said that the structure is only about two-tenths of a foot below the floodplain, but still has to come down in order to meet FEMA regulations.

“The concrete slab has to be engineered in such a way so that if there is a flood, the water can escape from the building and not cause any future damage,” he said.

“Once we bring the building – the new build – to FEMA compliant, that reduces the cost of the flood insurance by two-thirds. Flood insurance will still have to be obtained for the property, but at a much more reasonable cost.”

City Council moved the resolution to its Business meeting on Feb. 12.

Budget resolutions, Redfield Parkway pillars, Habitat for Humanity, Dwyer Stadium on City Council agenda

By Mike Pettinella

The post-Jason Molino era for the City of Batavia gets under way tonight with City Council taking on a packed agenda that includes four budget resolutions requiring public hearings, the Redfield Parkway pillars, Healthy Schools sidewalk project, Habitat for Humanity’s proposal to build a home in the flood zone, leasing City Centre Mall space to Batavia Players and a Dwyer Stadium sub-lease with the New York-Penn League to operate the Batavia Muckdogs baseball team.

The Council’s Conference meeting, which is expected to be followed by a special business meeting to address the Dwyer Stadium issue, is scheduled for 7 o’clock at the City Centre Council Board Room.

Summaries of the planned discussions are as follows:

Budget resolutions with public hearings

Interim City Manager Matthew Worth is introducing resolutions that deal with the proposed budget ordinance, water rate changes, Business Improvement District plan and City Centre concourse user fee local law amendments. His proposal requests that these topics be acted upon at the Feb. 12 Business Meeting, with public hearings set for Feb. 26.

The 2018-19 budget calls for $5,249,947 to be raised by taxes, with previous reports indicating that the tax rate is expected to decrease by 3 percent – to $8.99 per $1,000 of assessed value. Total expenditures are $24.3 million (an increase of 1.9 percent).

Water rates will go up by 3.5 percent, with slightly higher increases in meter and capital improvement fees. There is no increase proposed for the sewer rate.

Since the BID plan has not been updated since 2005, the City proposes amendments that include a change in the district assessment charge to properly reflect operations, capital accounting for surplus funds, compliance with Open Meetings Law and Freedom of Information Law, and other budgetary compliance reporting.

The City Centre Concourse user fee proposal sets costs to Mall business owners at $2 per square foot, effective April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2021, and going up to $2.04 in 2021-22 and $2.06 in 2022-23.

Redfield Parkway pillars

City officials reached out to In Site: Architecture LLP, of Perry, to address the deteriorating condition of the pillars at the north entrance of Redfield Parkway.

The firm came back with a proposal to investigate the existing conditions, conduct design work as required related to lighting, preparation of bid documents, construction specifications, bidding coordination and construction administration at a cost of $4,860.

Council will be asked to appropriate the funds, contingent upon receiving a construction cost estimate prior to bidding the project.

Healthy Schools sidewalk project

Worth is reporting that Roman Construction Development Corp. of North Tonawanda has offered the low bid of $721,566 to complete construction of 12,300 linear feet of sideway in the City as part of the Healthy Schools Corridor Project.

Seventy-five percent of the project cost will be paid by the Federal Highway Administration and 25 percent will be paid from City sidewalk reserves and Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS), Worth said.

Habitat for Humanity’s proposal

Habitat for Humanity is looking to renovate and restore a home at 116 Swan St., property that was transferred by the City to the organization. However, this is the first property to be transferred that is in the 100-year flood zone, resulting in additional costs.

According to Lauren Casey, Habitat for Humanity executive director, the cost to demolish the existing structure and build a new home is $104,000, including $17,395 for engineering and architectural costs to design a flood-compliant home.

In a memo from Molino dated Jan. 11 (the day before his last day on the job), Council will be asked to cover the $17,395, utilizing some of the $48,000 remaining from the former Vibrant Batavia initiative. Molino said that the engineering/architectural information could be used for future new builds in the City.

Batavia Players lease

A lease agreement with Batavia Players Inc. to utilize three City Centre parcels for their productions calls for monthly rent charges of $747.92 for months one through six ($1 per square foot), $1,223.86 for months seven through 12 ($3 per square foot), and $2,991.66 for months 13 through 60 ($4 per square foot).

In a memo, Worth writes that relocation of the theater to the downtown area has been identified in the City’s 2012 Community Improvement Plan and 2017 Comprehensive Plan, and is under consideration in the City’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative application.

The lease agreement gives the City the right to terminate it upon 180 days’ notice and allows the City to sell the property as it sees fit.

Sublease of Dwyer Stadium to NY-P

With the Rochester Community Baseball organization (Rochester Red Wings) out of the picture, the New York-Penn League has assumed ownership of the Batavia Muckdogs.

According to Worth, the NY-P is agreeable to operating the team at Dwyer Stadium under the terms and conditions of the previous sublease to the Batavia Regional Recreation Corporation and Genesee County Baseball Club Inc. and declaration to the Rochester Community Baseball for the coming season.

Worth, in a memo dated Jan. 19, said that the league has been made aware of the proposed budget and funds that may be available for improvements and “have an understanding of these limitations.”

Working mom from Batavia will move into restored Habitat for Humanity Home in Basom

By Howard B. Owens


Jenn Boyki will move into her new home on Bloomingdale Road in Basom with a new sense of opportunity and freedom thanks to Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers started working on the house, built in 1900, before a potential Habitat owner had been identified, so by the time Boyki applied and was approved, there wasn't much time for her to complete the required 300 hours of "sweat equity" to qualify for the purchase of the property.

But she got it done, all while raising two young children and working as a supervisor at Tim Horton's in Batavia.

"This speaks to her dedication and determination to provide a safe and stable home for her family," said Lauren Casey, CEO of Habitat in Genesee County.

The work was worth it, Boyki said.

"I loved it," she said. "I absolutely loved it. It gives you more enjoyment of being a homeowner versus just moving into a house."

With a piece of property out of the city she thinks she and her kids will have more freedom for themselves.

'It's an opportunity," she said. "The kids love animals, so we will be able to own some animals. I don't have to worry about a landlord and if something breaks, them fixing it on their own time."


Mary Case presented Boyki with a quilt she made to add comfort to the new home during the dedication ceremony.


Marie Scofield presented a symbolic loaf of bread.


On Women's Build Day, Habitat working to turn a house into a home while trying to find the right family to move in

By Howard B. Owens


Diane Winters cuts a board for the new front porch going onto the front of 1299 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, as part of a restoration effort on the latest project home for Genesee County Habitat for Humanity.

It was Women's Build Day.

The thing about this house, originally built in 1900, is that a future owner has not yet been selected. Habitat for Humanity is still accepting applicants.

"This was a house outside our normal rehab area so we're excited about expanding our service area to families," said Lauren Casey, president of the board. "It’s been a little bit of a struggle for us, as it turns out, to find a family. We’re still searching for a family, but that was the opportunity we wanted to seize."

Casey said for the right family, the three-bedroom, 1,648-square-foot house on a half-acre lot, is going to be a beautiful home. But that family isn't likely to come from the area of Habitat's normal reach, which is Batavia.

"I think it’s going to be tough for a family where we normally communicate with our families in Batavia to have them relocate, especially if they have kids to have them come out to this area," Casey said. "I think somebody in the Oakfield-Alabama School District is going to be our best bet for a family."

The family will need to put in 500 hours of "sweat equity" into the home, plus meet other financial qualifications (there is both a minimum and maximum level of income -- for more information, click here).

"I think it’s going to be a beautiful house. I think it’s just a matter of finding the right family," Casey said.








Another Habitat for Humanity house becomes a home

By Howard B. Owens


A house becomes a home when it's filled with love, Pastor Vern Saile reminded the Odom family today during the dedication of their Habitat for Humanity restored house on State Street, Batavia.

"The Bible says unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain," Saile said. "I know the Lord has been building this house. ... I know much of the Lord’s love has been in every nail that’s been pounded into the wall and every board that’s been put up and everything that’s been painted and sanded and cleaned."

The Odoms -- Brandon, Tiffany, Madden, 9, and Maleeya, 1 -- expressed gratitude for their new home and Brandon said he will never forget the volunteers who helped with the project over the past 11 months while he put in 500 hours of labor into the project. He won't forget, he said, restoring the hardwood floor upstairs or putting in the tile of the backsplash in the kitchen.

"Brandon was meticulous in his work," said Jaylene Smith Kilner, executive director of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity. 

P.J. Riner, construction director, got a little choked up talking about the Odom family and Brandon's dedication to the project.

"He’s worked very, very hard," Riner said. "He’s been a joy to work with and I’m confident he’s going to be a key part of this community for a long time."

Brandon has worked at Home Depot for nine years and is a part-time as a bus driver.

For his part, Madden couldn't wait to show off his new bedroom to visitors following the dedication ceremony.

One of the next potential projects for Habitat, said Board President Lauren Casey, is the restoration of a house on Bloomingdale Road, Basom. The project is awaiting applicants from potential homeowners who qualify for a Habitat home.


Part of the tradition of a Habitat home dedication are symbolic gifts: bread, so the new owners may never know hunger; sugar, so the home is always sweet; light, so that the home never knows darkness; flowers, to fill the home with beauty; and, a Bible, so there is always a blessing on the house.


Lauren Casey



Mother and daughter feel blessed to move into new Habitat home

By Howard B. Owens


Today, Habitat for Humanity dedicated the new home on Oak Street of Sheila and Jada Rolle.

Sheila expressed her gratitude for the staff and volunteers who helped them with a beautiful home.

"There’s so much love and peace and the angels all around because everyone who took part in this project blessed us so much, and I thank all of you for the love that you’ve shown us and you have given us," Sheila said.



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