by Susan Mikula Campbell
The Wheatfield Town Board on Monday authorized Supervisor Bob Cliffe to contact the state Department of Transportation seeking an earlier date for improvement of Niagara Falls Boulevard in the town.
"The Boulevard is still a very unsafe place. I don't want to wait until somebody else dies," said Cliffe about the roadway on which accidents are common occurrences.
When the state first started Boulevard improvements using federal funding, it was thought that the two remaining portions in Wheatfield would be at least started by 2013, but funding cutbacks have meant the Wheatfield project has been delayed several times.
"It's pushed out so far now, it's not even on the list," Cliffe said.
The Wheatfield project was to include new pavement, a continuous two-way left turn lane dividing the streams of traffic, intersection improvements, drainage, curbs, sidewalks, driveway aprons and landscaping. Also, the CSX railroad bridge was to be replaced, getting rid of the center support, Cliffe said.
The two sections still not done in Wheatfield run from Mavis Drive to about Witmer Road, and from the Oppenheim Park area to the Niagara Falls city line, Cliffe said, noting that otherwise Niagara Falls Boulevard is now five lanes from the University at Buffalo to halfway through Wheatfield.
In 2007, an accident between Ward and Witmer roads took the lives of two Wheatfield residents when their van collided with an oncoming tractor-trailer.
"There are dozens of accidents on the Boulevard each year, many of which are caused by local folks turning left into a business or driveway. Cars coming along don't see them quickly enough and can't stop in time," Cliffe said, noting he'd like to see the roadwork done before another tragedy occurs.
In other matters:
•The town's Firearms Permit Review Board is now complete. Don MacSwan was named chairman earlier this month. Renamed to the group were last year's chairman Augie Tolli, Greg Lloyd and Ron Hohle. New members are Eric Minton, Doug Guenther and Ron Wolf. Former chairman and longtime member of the group Paul Cozad was named chairman emeritus.
The group is planning a pistol permit course for March 27. Sign up at the town clerk's office.
•Jennifer Court resident Chuck Naughton wanted to know when drainage work would be done on his street.
"If you don't want to get a soaker when you go to get the mail you have to take the car ... and the mailbox is at the end of the driveway," he said.
The work on Jennifer Court was on the Highway Department's "to do" list last year, but was not completed. Naughton was assured by Councilman Larry Helwig that the project is at the head of the list for 2013.
•The board authorized its engineers, Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers, to provide design services for an estimated $6,000 for approximately 1,100 feet of pressure sewer along Wendt Drive. This will extend sewer services to four businesses, Rich Donner, water/sewer superintendent, said.
•The board approved the hiring of two part-time laborers and a Youth Center recreation aide for the Recreation Department, and authorized internal posting for the new deputy recreation director position.
•The next regular Town Board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at Town Hall.
Town Attorney Robert O'Toole said the board is expected to review at the February meeting updating policy regarding clothing allowance and mileage for town vehicles taken home by employees. This comes as a result of a recent meeting he held with an IRS representative, Budget Director Ed Mongold and some staff members.