by Autumn Evans
Errick Road residents gathered at the Sept. 17 Niagara-Wheatfield Board of Education meeting to urge the board to speak out against a subdivision planned for the area.
Having already raised concerns at previous Wheatfield Town Board meetings about the proposed Cobblestone Creek development worsening flooding in the area, the group of Errick Road residents turned their attention toward the impact the subdivision would have on Errick Road Elementary School.
"Every year, the creek behind our residence floods, and sometimes it floods across the street into the school parking lot," said Sharon Downie. "In some cases, it is while the school is in session, presenting a serious health and safety issue."
Downie said traffic issues would also be worsened. She showed the board pictures of what she called "unsafe conditions" at Errick and Stieg roads during school events, which she said would worsen as more cars entered the area.
"We cannot afford to allow this development to impact the health and safety of our precious children," Downie said.
Kim Benham, a day care operator and resident of Errick Road, called the intersection "a tragedy waiting to happen." The proposed entrance to the development would be on the side of her house, where children enter her day care.
Benham called on the school board to conduct an independent traffic study of the area, citing worries that the traffic study initiated by the developers would be biased. Board president Steven Sabo cautioned the group that the only power the school board had in the situation was to have the superintendent offer a recommendation to the Town Board.
Downie said Town Board officials and developer Rosal Homes told her they had requested feedback from the school board, but received no response. N-W Superintendent Lynn Marie Fusco confirmed the board had received requests in 2010 and 2013, and said she had contacted Wheatfield Town Supervisor Bob Cliffe regarding the matter. She said the district would send out a letter detailing the board's concerns.
Benham also brought up the current traffic danger in the area. She said she walks schoolchildren across the street at the intersection at Errick and Stieg roads, and cars rarely stop at the stop signs there. Jen Stotter, whose children go to Errick Road Elementary, agreed that crossing the street at the intersection was dangerous.
Board member Amy Duell suggested placing a school crossing guard at the intersection to help the situation. Fusco said crossing guards are typically appointed by the town, not the school district, and are usually used only in areas with sidewalks, but she would look into the matter.
In other board news:
•Rob Saunderson of Niagara Falls reported about the district going directly to emergency contacts instead of calling him after his daughter became sick at school. He said he spoke to the principal and the matter was being addressed.
•RoseMary Warren of Sanborn told the board that after months of attempting to acquire vouchers detailing district budget expenses, she was giving up.
"You're not interested in having an ordinary taxpayer, who's paid taxes here for 46 years, not interested in letting them look at any of the bills to help you out," she said.