ELLERY - The town of Ellery will acquire a condemned, tax-foreclosed property thanks to a deal struck by town officials and a local businessman.
The town will acquire and eventually demolish the former Vullo's Restaurant, located adjacent to the town park on Route 430, in order to expand parking.
"Well I'm happy we were successful in obtaining the property," Arden Johnson, Ellery town supervisor, told The Post-Journal. "We want to tear it down and get rid of some of the junk and the weeds around it."
A deal was struck shortly after a recent committee meeting in Mayville, where John Zmuda, an area businessman, told lawmakers he had purchased the former restaurant at auction in June for $15,000.
However, David Wesp, town of Ellery council member, also present at committee, criticized the auction process for its irregularities. He noted that Zmuda was allowed to renege an offer of $22,000 after it was made public that the property had several code violations.
Wesp, who was prepared to purchase the property, said he left the auction after he was outbid - unaware the Zmuda had asked to submit a lower offer.
Shortly after committee, Zmuda met with town officials and agreed to sell the rights to the property.
County Attorney Steve Abdella said the town paid Zmuda $6,500 for the bid-purchase rights, as well as the $15,000 offer price to the county. The county, in turn, will deed the property directly to the town.
Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point, who was contacted by the town to help acquire the property, said he is pleased to see both sides come to an agreement.
"Well I think if you see the amount of activity at the town park, especially during the fall sports season ... to demolish the property which is starting to look abandoned, will be a great improvement," he said.
Zmuda, who was present during Wednesday's monthly legislature meeting, declined to speak specifically on the sale. He did say both parties were pleased with the result.
Once officially acquired, the town plans to demolish the property before expanding parking.
"It's been several years," Johnson said of the town's bid to secure the former restaurant. "It's deteriorating so much. We just want to get rid of an eyesore and make the park more accessible."
Vullo's Restaurant closed without warning in March 2009.