KENMORE, N.Y. — Several dozen supporters of Insty-Prints were in attendance at the Village of Kenmore board of trustees meeting Tuesday night.
Insty-Prints has called Kenmore home for 36 years. In 2021, the village approached the print shop about purchasing the property in order to expand the police station on Elmwood Ave.
In early 2022 and through their attorneys, Insty-Prints rejected an initial offer from the village and countered with an offer of $1.4M for the village to acquire the property.
"They countered with a kind of ridiculous number," Kenmore mayor Patrick Mang told WGRZ in November. "We decided that we would pursue eminent domain."
During Tuesday's board of trustees meeting, at least half a dozen people used the public comment period to express their opposition to the village's plan.
"You're stealing from my brother Jim, my mother, and my father, god rest their souls," said Insty-Prints co-owner Tom Metz.
Chris Billoni from Colvin Cleaners, one of the neighbors of Insty-Prints, questioned the trustees about the process to decide on the police station expansion.
"Was a committee ever formed to make this decision," Billoni asked the board.
Mayor Mang said no, and that one wasn't needed.
The decision to proceed with eminent domain caused a lot of controversy within the village, particularly on social media.
Trustee Joseph DeCecco said he received numerous threats over the board's decision to proceed with eminent domain.
Once the public was done with their comments, Mayor Patrick Mang took to the mic.
"This is a process of give and take. this is a process where we should listen to one another not embellish the truth or not tell the truth," Mang said.
"We have considered other options and we do have another option on the table right now," Mang said. "So as of right now, eminent domain is being dropped."
The audience was stunned by this end-of-meeting announcement.
Tom Metz stood up to ask the board if that meant if he doesn't sell to the village, would he still get to keep his business?
Mayor Mang said yes, and the crowd burst into applause.
"Talking with the [police] chief, I think he was just very frustrated by the process and he really wanted to get moving on this project," Mayor Mang said, "As a board member we were all very frustrated."
The village will now move forward with plans to add a second level to the existing police station, which is 71 years old.
The trustees approved $6M for the project earlier this year. Mayor Mang did not have a timetable for when the project would move to the next phase.