By Lauren Zaepfel
The Town of Niagara Town Board approved updates to all of its parks for the coming warmer weather seasons.
The board approved the purchase of a decorative pond fountain, including a light kit to go with it, for the pond at Veterans Memorial Community Park. The cost is not to exceed $7,000. The future purchase and installation of benches for the park was also mentioned.
Fox Fence Inc. was awarded the bid for the installation of eight baseball team dugouts in the park, amounting to $28,750.
Besides approving improvements to Veterans Memorial Community Park, the board moved to update the town's five pocket parks, or satellite parks, as well. It passed a resolution to hire Miracle Recreation Inc. to install multiuse playground systems for all five pocket parks at a cost of $86,000. The actual playground equipment was purchased last fall with the help of a state contact.
"This is the first step in our renovation of all our pocket parks," Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace said. "We'll (also) be yanking out anything that's not deemed safe and we will also be adding equipment, hopefully, on a yearly basis - but at least bringing these pocket parks up to standards so that the neighboring communities can have something they can be proud of, as well."
Wallace said the parks have "been in existence since the '50s and they have not been renovated since the '70s." He added the board wants residents to know, "We are not deserting them just because we have this park over here (referring to Veterans Memorial Community Park)."
In other news:
•Residents are invited to participate in the initiative, "Neaten Up Niagara," which the board designated as Saturday, June 4.
"I just want some people to get some pride in our whole town," Wallace said. "The people (at) the Belden Center have been doing it for years. We've had different cleanup days in individual neighborhoods. They've been in April and May (but) June has always been (the town's) cleanup month."
On Saturdays in June, the town will pick up items residents leave at the end of their properties.
With this in mind, along with warmer weather, Wallace said the town "decided to try this new venture on June 4 where we're going to reach out to all the communities and groups we assisted with the gift giveaway and see if they'll give us a hand cleaning up the town for a couple hours on a Saturday."
•The town plans to hold its first farmers market on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 8, at Veterans Memorial Community Park.
"We're trying our best to get this thing off the ground, but we're struggling with the farmers," Wallace said. "We're trying to get them out and make this thing a success. ... We need the patrons to come support this so more farmers show up."
Seven farmers have signed up to participate thus far. However, Wallace said he would like to have at least 10 or 15 for the market.
"Just like what they do in North Tonawanda, what they do in the City of Niagara Falls, we're trying to get farmers to come out and provide a service for the residents in the surrounding communities," Wallace said.
The farmers market would occur 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday.
•The board voted to lease two new 2016 Jeep Compass 4WD Latitudes for the code enforcement office. Each payment for the vehicle will be $280 per month for 36 months, without exceeding the designated mileage.
Wallace said this is part of a leasing program the town is working toward.
"We are trying to get away from straight purchases and trying to go with the leases, which cuts way back on our maintenance costs and keeps our departments in good vehicles that they can trust and we can trust," he said. "And (it's) a lot easier for us to budget when we know we have to budget on a year-to-year basis rather than throw $70,000-$80,000 in the budget one year, and then try and pick up the slack from buying two vehicles."