by Joshua Maloni
Trustees in the Village of Lewiston have begun to take aim at issues hovering over the municipality. At Monday's monthly work session, the board entered into discourse on topics including charitable collections, directing people around the village and picking up residential trash.
Three new expansion plans were also discussed - one each for Hibbard's Custard, D'Avolio and Waste Technology Services (see related story).
With regard to charitable collections, trustees told representatives for Community Missions and Heart, Love and Soul that they would have to share space with other organizations - River region shelters and Lewiston No. 1 Volunteer Fire Co., in particular. Independently working outside of Artpark's "Tuesday in the Park" South Fourth Street entrance last summer, the volunteer group collected thousands of dollars for the Niagara Falls food pantries.
The board said that prime solicitation spot should be shared.
"The northern areas of this community are in need," Trustee Vic Eydt said. "I think everybody should get a little piece of the pie - but it should be organized."
Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland referenced a plan put forth last year by the Lewiston Lions Club wherein the organization would act as a clearinghouse for all charitable contributions made in or around Artpark. Trustees didn't remark on Sutherland's comment. Instead, the board suggested the Community Missions/Heart and Soul volunteers trade nights with the fire company and set aside a portion of the collections for below-the-hill food pantries.
"It appears the board would like to see it shared," Mayor Terry Collesano told volunteers group leader Mamie Simonson.
"We'd still like to have Tuesday nights, because that's the biggest thing," she said.
"There's a great need in this area, as there is in Niagara Falls," Collesano said. "Is there any way we can talk and compromise and share this thing?"
"We could do that," Simonson said.
Speaking of the fire company, Sutherland said, "They provide a tremendous service for the village and the local community. Last year they did not collect anywhere near what they should."
Trustee Terri Mudd put it this way: "I know how this community depends on the fire company, and how the fire company depends on funds."
Collesano said alternating nights between the volunteer group and the fire company would create "cash flow on both sides."
Community Missions Director of Public Relations Don Luce said, "This is a particularly hard year for Community Missions and Heart and Soul." As a result of cuts in private and government funding, the organizations "need help very badly," he said.
Though their funding has diminished, the public need has grown.
"We're getting more people to the soup kitchen than ever before," Luce said.
Still, he thanked the board for allowing his group to collect in years past and said, "We'll try to work with whatever is decided."
Trustees opted to hold off on any final decision.
"You think about it, and we'll think about it," Simonson said.
The Village Board did lend vocal support to the third annual Hospice Dash, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24. Organizer Paul Beatty said the 5K run is morphing into a half-marathon, and asked if the event could start at the upper plateau on South Eighth Street and wind down Center Street toward Ridge Road and the rest of the course, which extends onto Lake Road.
Though the race is set for the morning of the Harvest Festival, trustees said there shouldn't be a conflict, and that a police escort would be provided for runners. The board asked Beatty to iron out the logistics and return with a more detailed plan.
Trustees have just about ironed out all of the particulars surrounding village directories. Three road maps, of sorts, will be placed along Center Street - at the Piper Law Office Welcome Center in Academy Park, around the Little Yellow House (between Fifth and Fourth streets), and on the waterfront.
Sutherland said final preparations would be addressed at meetings slated for the end of the month with designer Michael LaDuca of The Corporate Jesters, the Historical Association of Lewiston (serving as a proofreader), and Niagara Frontier Publications (publisher of the Sentinel).
NFP has sold ads along the map design's border. Those ads will cover the cost of the three, 3-foot-by-4-foot display cases. Sutherland said his team is looking for map inserts, which would be weatherproof and easily replaced (when businesses change).
"I think it'll be a good addition," Sutherland said, noting the signs should be installed by mid-April.
What isn't good, Department of Public Works Superintendent Bryan Meigs said, is the state of the village's 1997 garbage truck, the municipality's primary trash mover.
"We've been nickeling and diming it for years," Meigs said of the truck's interior.
"It's in deplorable condition, as far as the exterior," Collesano said.
Meigs said the cost of a new truck is about $180,000. He said an inquiry was made to the Modern Corporation about handling residential garbage pickup.
Meigs said the cost of such an endeavor would be about three times as much as what the village is currently spending (based on three pickups per week).
"We're going to have to look at this very seriously," Collesano said.
Trustees toyed with the idea of enlisting a corporate sponsor to advertise on the truck and help offset the purchase cost.