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Town to close ice rink Sunday

by jmaloni
Sat, Jan 28th 2012 07:00 am

by Terry Duffy

Continuing questions regarding Joseph Davis State Park, and a drainage concern affecting a Creek Road Extension property were among the discussion items at Monday's Lewiston Town Board regular meeting.

Leading off, however, was one that came up as the session ended. Town Parks and Recreation Director Mike Dashineau said that the town ice skating rink in Academy Park would be closing for the season at the conclusion of skating on Sunday, Jan. 29. The rink, built by the town following the awarding of nearly $40,000 in Niagara River Greenway funding last fall, opened in early December amid great fanfare. It was projected by the town to remain open until late March or early April. No explanation was given by the town. Although there has been talk floating around Lewiston in recent weeks that questions over staffing and operations costs were becoming a concern.

In a statement issued by Dashineau on Thursday, he informed, "The Town of Lewiston Family Ice Rink at Academy Park will close for the season after a successful two-month run on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 9 p.m.

"The Family Ice Rink was established in Lewiston as part of the Niagara River Greenway and a plan put forth by the Town of Lewiston. It's estimated that over 7,000 skaters where able to use the rink in the two months it was open. The ice rink was also able to support local community groups by allowing groups to fundraise at the rink. The ice rink, through fundraising made possible by extending normal business hours, was able to raise over $1,500 for various groups. In addition, through the generosity of the people who enjoyed the rink, the Town of Lewiston was able to gather over 150 unwrapped, new toys for donation to the Toys for Tots program in the weeks before Christmas."

Dashineau closed by inviting residents and rink users to comment on how they felt the operation fared. "The Town of Lewiston is eager to hear from the community regarding the ice rink, and (has) made a brief survey available on the youth recreation/sports site, www.LewPortSports.com."

Other news from the session included comments from resident RoseMary Warren on the approval last week of the JDP $5.7 million Phase 1 funding application by the Niagara River Greenway Commission despite questions raised over projects. Warren went on to question the JDP Local Development Corporation. Warren told Town Supervisor Steve Reiter and the board she had discussed the matter with State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. "They're (LDCs) out of control," said Warren, telling the board that DiNapoli shared her concerns and that she had forwarded questions over to him voicing her displeasure with the Lewiston group.

Soon after Paulette Glasgow approached the board with another JDP issue, that of its Nov. 14 vote to approve for Lewiston to submit the $5.7 million Phase I JDP funding request to Greenway. "The JDP funding request never received a second," said Glasgow, as she furnished Town Board meeting minutes showing Town Councilman Mike Marra as lead sponsor of the proposal but no second. "This funding request violated Roberts Rules of Order," said Glasgow. "It never received a second. This application is flawed. Everything in it is null and void."

Glasgow closed by calling for a revote with a second sponsor and demands for the town to hold a public hearing to better explain the specifics of the Phase I request. Reiter had no comment, but Town Councilman Ernie Palmer immediately jumped in, calling on the town clerk's office to check on an apparent oversight on the Nov. 14 vote regarding a second. "We never would vote without a second," said Palmer.

Drainage concerns affecting a Creek Road Extension property came up, as resident Patricia Mosa approached and inquired on why town highway and drainage crews had done work for a Hillside Drive neighbor. Mosa said the resident was a relative of a town employee and that she likewise has been encountering a similar problem of cascading water coming from the escarpment during heavy rains and snow melts, but her calls to the town have gone unanswered. "I want to know why it (town work) was done there," she said. "I think it's very unfair," she said, telling Reiter and the board the same problem of water affects her. "It has overwhelmed my house," the woman said.

Town Highway Superintendent Doug Janese stood up and told the board he had directed the earlier work at the neighboring Hillside Drive as he encountered similar problems in the neighborhood. Janese said he would address the woman's concerns, if requested. "Consider it a request then," responded Reiter.

Wrapping up, the town announced it would be adding a bonded review/approval covering $1.895 million for previously approved upgrades to the town's Water Pollution Control Center at a public hearing scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13, at 6:45 p.m., prior to its work session. Other discussion items for the public hearing include the Sanborn sewer extension project and Elm Drive water PRV pits work.

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