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Village of Lewiston board meeting centers on community concerns

by jmaloni
Sat, Jul 23rd 2011 07:00 am

by Joshua Maloni

Village of Lewiston trustees received an earful Monday from Oneida Street resident Jacqueline Lampman at their monthly board meeting. They heard complaints on everything from traffic models to spending patterns.

"It's not a quiet place to live anymore," Lampman said of the village.

She began her comments with observations of the north Fourth Street and River Road areas.

"(Cars were) going 50 mph," she said, noting they weren't stopping, either. But, with the arrival of Lewiston Police vehicles, "It stopped. These people significantly slowed down."

Lampman said quality of life in the village has diminished with the increase in concerts and other large events.

"You just keep adding them (festivals), and adding them, and adding them," she said.

"Now I've got tour buses (driving down my street) ... I've got Modern (Disposal trucks) in the middle of the night. ... It's horrible."

"I didn't come into this village to listen to rock music at 8:30, 9 o'clock," she said. "I know I'm not the only one who feels that way."

Lampman said Ridge Street has become a "horrible" haven for "bar traffic"; village parks have become overrun with "older kids from Niagara Falls" who "intimidate all the younger kids"; and questioned spending for recreation programs.

Trustees listened to Lampman, but didn't engage her in a debate.

"We are working to try to make things better," Mayor Terry Collesano said. He stated sound levels were adjusted at Artpark and Water Street Landing (two popular noise complaint targets), and parking adjustments were implemented for "Tuesday in the Park" concerts. 

Wiz Khalifa concert questioned

The Artpark conversation turned to the Wiz Khalifa concert on Aug. 4. The 23-year-old Pittsburgh rapper is currently on his "Rolling Papers" tour.

"There could be some very tense moments that night," Village of Lewiston Police Commissioner Al Soluri said. "We don't want a reoccurrence of what happened in Niagara Falls."

Soluri was referring to a July 2 concert at the Rapids Theatre on Main Street, which ended with a shooting, several fights and multiple arrests.

Responding after the meeting, Artpark & Co. President George Osborne said, "The Wiz Khalifa concert should not be compared to the 'after hours' private party at the Rapids Theatre. Wiz Khalifa plays to a demographic of 16 to 20 year olds, and our concert is scheduled to end at 10:30. The Rapids party didn't even start until 11 p.m."

Lewiston Police Chief Chris Salada said Osborne would not cancel the show.

Khalifa's show is a ticketed, Mainstage Theater event. Soluri said the previous indoor show, the July 13 Black Keys concert, was larger than police expected.

"Chris doesn't know when they have a big crowd coming," Soluri said of ticketed events.

Salada said he is ready for the Khalifa show.

"We're going to have all our guys in, and we're going to try and get some (Niagara County) Sheriff's Department and state police in there for that, too," he said.

Salada also is preparing for larger outdoor crowds. Artpark's next two "Tuesday in the Park" concerts feature Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top. Weather permitting, crowds are expected to range from 15,000 to 25,000.

"The next two weeks are probably going to be our biggest," he said. "Besides the coverage we now have between the state police and sheriff's department, I'm also going to write a letter to the Town of Niagara - (Police Chief James Suitor) says he could probably give me five guys - and I'm going to get at least one officer from Youngstown to supplement the patrols for those nights."

Salada and the Lewiston Police Department also have worked this summer with New York State Parks Police, Niagara County Auxiliary Police and U.S. Border Patrol to ensure crowd control, run driving while intoxicated checkpoints, and direct traffic out of the village.

News and Notes

•Music promoter Steve Goodman was granted permission to host the first "Hot Pepper & Salsa Festival" on Aug. 16-17 at Academy Park. Proceeds will be used to pay for security cameras, which will be installed on Water Street.

•The Village of Lewiston Recreation Department is planning a Facebook course this fall for people looking to learn the ins and outs of the social networking site.

The department was also given permission to use Marilyn Toohey Park and the Red Brick Schoolhouse grounds for its 15th annual Country Fair and Community Yard Sale on Saturday, Sept. 17.

•Theatre in the Mist was granted a facility contract to use Academy Park from 5 until 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, for a Chiavetta's chicken barbecue fundraiser. Proceeds will benefit the company, which is staging "Annie" in September.

•Paving was expected to end this week. The Department of Public Works placed new blacktop on Mohawk and South Ninth streets. 

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