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New life for historic grain elevator in Canandaigua

City Manager John Goodwin calls developments at the historic Benham Grain Elevator building on Canandaigua’s Niagara Street “a success story.”

The structure was destined a few years ago for the wrecking ball, dangerous and riddled with code violations following a fire back in 2012. Then, along came someone willing to take it on: Lynda Pownall-Carlson, for years a Naples-area glass artist, discovered the structure at 168 Niagara St. with its 50-foot tall grain elevator, impressive beams and architecture.

Newly single after a 25-year marriage, at the time she found the grain elevator, “it needed me as much as I did it,” she said. “It gave me a dream and hope for a better future.”

On Wednesday, with drawings in hand, a flash light and sturdy shoes, Pownall-Carlson showed the progress made since she bought the building two years ago. Previously ravaged by fire and with one section torn down, the structure was diminished to less than half of what it had been originally.

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