Draper School could become vet home

After a charter school set its sights on the former Draper School, but backed out, veterans might be moving in.

Tom Reiter, Junior Vice Commander of the New York State Disabled American Veterans, said on Tuesday, June 21, that First Niagara Bank, the property owner, had contacted him on Monday, June 20, for another walkthrough of the building.

We never gave up on Rotterdam, said Reiter. "We always had the support of the town and county legislators"

The DAV had announced plans to secure the building, but to the surprise of town officials Eximius Education Foundation claimed to have signed a contract with First Niagara in March. By the middle of May though Eximius had pulled their application to use the property. Now it appears plans for the DAV are back on the table.

Reiter said he not only wants to renovate Draper for the DAV, but for the sake of the community too.

"I know residents have been up in arms over the condition of the property," said Reiter, noting the building's failing roof and unkempt grounds.

He said he's not too concerned with the condition of the inside. He was last in Draper a year ago, he said, and doesn't think the interior could have degraded much since.

"We have to do substantial renovation to the inside anyway," he said, "So I'm certainly not going to nitpick."

The DAV's for the 94,000-square-foot building is to transform it into apartments for disabled veterans over the age of 55. Town officials previously seemed supportive of this plan. Supervisor Frank Del Gallo previously estimated the renovations at $24 million.

Neighbors have previously come to Town Board meetings and expressed concern over the increased traffic flow that would come with the building becoming an operational school again.

"We know the residents don't want a charter school there," said Reiter.

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