The Town of Wheatfield isn't celebrating a bicentennial this year, and it has no special history of the British invading and burning homes during the War of 1812, but it will be celebrating July 4, 2012, with a bang this year.
Fireworks and a concert will be offered at Oppenheim Park on Niagara Falls Boulevard next Wednesday. Due to budget constraints, the fireworks have been absent from the park for the past two years.
Assisting in this endeavor is freshman county Legislator Kathryn Lance, R-Wheatfield, who won passage of a $5,000 appropriation from Niagara County's last remaining casino slot revenues. Of those funds, $1,000 will help provide the July 4 concert and the remainder will help promote the Wheatfield Farmers Market, which opened for the season this month.
The Independence Day concert will be held at Oppenheim Park from 6 to 9 p.m., with fireworks at dusk.
The town has contracted with ROAR84, a local '80s throwback band, to play the event. The band's covers draw heavily on 1980s new wave and pop music, featuring such hits as Nena's "99 Luftballons," A Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran," and Men Without Hats' "Safety Dance."
A disc jockey will follow the band's performance and patriotic music will be played during the fireworks display.
"Wheatfield is a growing community, and a lot of that growth has been young families," Lance said. "Our town leaders wanted to provide a positive outlet for them this summer - and this is a really family-friendly concert. I was glad we could help at the county level."
The Wheatfield Farmers Market is held behind Wheatfield Town Hall, 2800 Church Road, Wheatfield, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays through Oct. 17.
"The Wheatfield Farmers Market is important to both our residents, who appreciate the opportunity to enjoy fresh farm goods, and to our local agricultural producers, who count on opportunities like this to sell their produce," Lance said before turning a county check over to Wheatfield Supervisor Bob Cliffe and Town Clerk Kathy Harrington.
The casino funds had been provided under a deal between the Seneca Nation of Indians and the state, before former Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte and former State Sen. Antoine Thompson sponsored legislation that diverted the county's share of the revenues to Niagara Falls.
Cliffe thanked Lance for arranging for the funding at Monday's Town Board meeting.
In other matters at the meeting:
•The board approved the final plat map for the Captains Way subdivision, located off Shawnee Road, north of Forest Parkway. The subdivision is to include 13 single-family homes and two commercial lots. The commercial lots are zoned R-C, restricted commercial, which means the type of businesses that can be housed there is limited (see code on the town website) and cannot include businesses such as gas stations or auto repair.
•Two town residents complained that their new large tote recycling bins are being tossed to the side of the road or in driveways by drivers from Modern Disposal. Cliffe said it was his understanding the recycling pickups and replacement of the bins were to be done automatically by special new trucks purchased by Modern and that he would check with the company.
•Cliffe said the state Department of Transportation has accepted the change in the town-wide residential speed limit to 30 mph instead of 35 mph. New signs should be put in place soon. Speed limits on county and state roads will not change.
•Councilman Art Gerbec is working on an investigation of possibly inferior asphalt used for patching town roads. After just one year, it is deteriorating, he said, and he wants to find out if the supplier met specific guidelines. He has spoken with Mike Tracy of the county Public Works Department and found that other towns are experiencing similar problems with the asphalt.
•Recreation Director Ed Sturgeon said last weekend's senior/kids fishing derby was a success with 65 people participating and 76 fish caught. The largest fish was 12-1/2 inches.
•Highway Superintendent Art Kroening reported mulch is still available at the town Highway Garage and that drainage work along David Drive is nearing completion.
•The next Wheatfield Town Board meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 9.