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Vets’ Group Has WCA Home Interest, Mayor Says

A veterans’ organization is interested in placing aging and infirm vets in the former WCA Home on Temple Street, Fredonia Mayor Michael Ferguson confirmed last week.

“I’m not trying to be elusive, but I’m not sure these guys want their names involved yet,” he said in an interview. They plan to meet with village officials in about a month, he said.

“There seems to be a real intent (on their part) to try and make this happen,” Ferguson added. “We have some folks with good ties to the U.S. military who want to see this happen.”

The WCA Home was an assisted living home for senior citizens. It opened in the 1890s and saw several additions over the years. The WCA Board of Directors closed the home in 2023 and put it up for sale.

Ferguson noted there has been interest from several parties in the sizable residence.

Though the mayor did not comment on it Monday, there was interest from Dennis Rak in using the home as housing for his migrant farm workers. That met significant community opposition.

Ferguson sounded very enthusiastic about the possibility of aging vets getting housed there. He pointed out there are no Veterans Administration nursing homes for seniors in Chautauqua County. The closest ones are in Batavia and Erie, Pa.

“There’s a definite need for Chautauqua County veterans,” he said. “It’s something many people have talked to us about. It seems like a natural fit. We’re hoping to see it come to fruition.”

President of the WCA Board of Directors Lori Poniatowski recently announced, “We are actively looking for a non-profit human service organization to take over the building under their auspices so that it can be used for services in Chautauqua County.”

The responsibility for finding a use of the facility rests with the six members of the WCA Board of Directors, but the ultimate disposition of the property, which as a non-profit is ownerless, is guided by the Attorney General of New York State.

The property is appraised at $1.2 million and is a two-story, wood-frame building added on to a 19th-century historic home noted for its architectural significance. It includes 37 resident rooms, a commercial kitchen, an elevator, a Generac industrial generator, air-conditioning, a commercial fire sprinkler and smoke alarm system, security cameras, and a fiber optic wi-fi system, and is handicapped accessible.

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