ELLERY - A condemned eyesore has met its end, but not before showing off some of its former glory.
The former Vullo's Restaurant in the town of Ellery was demolished earlier this month, much to the pleasure of town officials who have long hoped to expand parking at the popular town park.
"Well, it's really been time-consuming and frustrating," said David Wesp, Ellery town councilman. "The next plan is to clean up the brush around the area and remove some of the dead trees."
The former Vullo’s Restaurant in the town of Ellery was demolished earlier this month. With the property now vacant, town officials plan to expand parking to the adjacent Ellery Town Park.
Wesp said demolition took place within a week of the town acquiring the property from the county. Increased traffic at the park, as well as recent break-ins at the former restaurant, hastened the razing.
"It was a fire hazard. The best thing was to get it down," Wesp said, noting costs of acquisition and demolition will delay paving the now-empty lot at this time.
Demolition was delayed briefly after crews found approximately 100 serving trays in between the building's walls - most likely from the property's days as a drive-in eatery. The trays were beyond repair, Wesp said, while four septic tanks also required removal.
"There was some history in those walls," Wesp quipped. "Some things you don't want to know what we found, like some food that has been sitting around for years."
He added: "This is going to be an asset for the town. Safety is going to be a lot better, too."
The former restaurant had a rocky history since its sudden closure three years ago, including numerous unsuccessful trips to the county auction block.
John Zmuda, a local businessman, recently acquired the property - located adjacent to the town park on Route 430. Wesp questioned the auction process, noting that Zmuda was allowed to rescind his offer and submit a lower price when told of the building's numerous code violations. The councilman also attended the auction, but left after being outbid.
Zmuda later struck a deal with Ellery town officials to sell the condemned building for $6,500 as well as $15,000 for the offer price paid to the county.
"They got in there and got it cleaned up. It's a great place to park, especially for seniors," said legislator Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point. "With the popularity of the park it's great to get that extra space.
"And we got rid of a building that, quite frankly, looked terrible."