by Susan Mikula Campbell
Joe and Laurie Lettieri refer to it as "Jordan's sign."
The big yellow "Child With Autism Area" sign stands at the entrance to Lakewood Drive in the Ashwood subdivision off Schultz Road.
The sign represents not only an extra safety step for 6-year-old Jordan, who is autistic, but is a sign of cooperation and shared services between the Town of Wheatfield and the City of North Tonawanda.
Joe Lettieri said his mother spotted a sign like it near her home in North Tonawanda. He thought it was a good idea and told Wheatfield Supervisor Bob Cliffe about it. Cliffe asked North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt where to get a similar sign.
"Mayor Rob Ortt said to not bother looking; he'll have one made for us. And he did! I went over to DPW in N.T. and picked up two of them," Cliffe said.
"Shared services and mutual assistance is not a once in a while thing, but an everyday thing," said Ortt who has the signs designed and made by his Department of Public Works. "When local governments cooperate and work together, residents and taxpayers win. Sharing services isn't just about saving money, but protecting our residents."
The town plans to make an equal trade off of materials with the city.
"We're thrilled about it," Lettieri said about the new sign.
Traffic can be busy on his street with construction continuing in the development.
He and his wife keep close tabs on their son and keep him away from the street, but like with any child that age, you can take your eyes off him for a couple seconds, look back and find him in someplace else entirely.
"Some people might just blow the horn and assume the kid will get out of the way. Jordan might not understand," Lettieri said.
The sign also will help protect other non-autistic children in the neighborhood by reminding drivers to be more aware and slow down, he added.