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Losing a South End gem

Every neighborhood has a few buildings that really define the area they’re in; for Niagara Falls’ South End that was the Mizer building. Situated on Tenth Street, the architectural beauty served many purposes for the Niagara community until its demolition on Jan. 24 of this year.

In 1914, the building was established as the Tenth Street School, an elementary school that operated for nearly 60 years, before Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center bought the building in 1974. Since then, Memorial has used the building to host its Family Practice Residency Program, Primary Care Center, Pediatrics and the Child Advocacy Center of Niagara.

The Mizer building was home to many programs that served as highlights of Memorial’s services today, and that’s exactly why so many are sad to see it go. We reached out to Seth Piccirillo, director of community development, for comment, but he did not reply in time for publication. On Jan. 24, patrons and employees of the hospital reminisced as the building where they attended kindergarten, visited their first doctor or had their life saved was torn down.

Patrick Bradley, director of communications for Memorial, said the primary cause of the demolition was safety concerns. With leaking roofs and burst pipes, the damage was far too great to recover from.

Mizer views for Madison
Image courtesy of Diane Glynn

“The [Mizer] building had deteriorated to the point where developers we invited to go through it said the decline was too great for them to rehabilitate it,” commented Bradley.

While this decision is not associated with Niagara University’s recently-launched South End Initiative, a collaborative effort by local organizations (including Memorial) to revitalize the historic south end of Niagara Falls, Bradley said it is in the best interest of the neighborhood.

“Vacant buildings are not safe with respect to children in a residential neighborhood such as ours… God forbid, children should get in there and get hurt,” said Bradley.

So what’s next for that vacant lot where the Mizer building once stood? No decision has been made yet, but administrators at Memorial have a few ideas. In 2016, Memorial opened their Golisano Center for Community Health, home to many of the services previously found in the Mizer building. Bradley said the Center is already “bursting at the seams,” and that expanding it is a possibility.

IMG_0681 copy

Memorial has been making many improvements over the past few years, most notably with their new Cardiac Catheterization Lab on April 5, 2017 and the opening of their new Cardiac-Stroke Center on Jan. 4. The 171-bed comprehensive hospital, led by President Joseph Ruffolo, has devoted their time and money to promoting the Niagara Falls community.

“Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has been a catalyst for neighborhood development and revitalization with $490 million invested inside and outside our walls during the past decade or so and we will continue to work vigorously to make Niagara Falls a more attractive place to live and work,” commented Bradley.

Its unanimous within the community that the lot where the Mizer building once stood should be anything but a just a parking lot. As the setting of so many memories both old and new, many hope to see a new building rise where more of those memories can be made.

 

 

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