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Grand Island Town Board lifts water use advisory

by jmaloni
Thu, Aug 30th 2012 04:55 pm

Relay For Life asks for use of Vets Park

by Larry Austin

The town's six-week long water advisory has come to an end.

A press release from Town Supervisor Mary Cooke's office Aug. 21 said the Town Board "is pleased to report we are past the need for voluntary restriction of water consumption. Adequate pressure is now being maintained in the system for effective firefighting, and everyday domestic use. We are grateful to Grand Island residents for their attention to the recent restrictions, and their responsive actions of being conservative and thoughtful with their water use."

This summer's dry conditions prompted the board to issue the advisory the week of July 9 to head off more stringent water restrictions. "If a mandatory restriction happens, then we have to ticket people for doing things such as watering their grass and washing their car, which is not a very good use our resources," Cooke said at the end of Monday's Town Board meeting.

During the last six weeks, the town increased its pump capacity and bought more water from the Niagara County water district, Cooke said.

Relay For Life considering move to Veterans Park

The board gave preliminary approval to a request from the Relay For Life of Grand Island and Surrounding Communities to use Veterans Park overnight on Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, 2013.

Lynn Dingey, a co-chair of the GI Relay For Life, sent a letter to the board explaining that the Grand Island Central School District's capital improvement project will prevent the local Relay from using Masters Field at Grand Island High School, the location of all 10 previous Relays.

"So we began a search for a new home," Dingey wrote to the board. "After visiting several different sites on Grand Island, we feel Veterans Park would make a great new location."

Other sites that were under consideration included another area at Grand Island High School.

"But next year, the school is completely not an option at all," Dingey said. "We considered possibly moving to Beaver Island, and we had talked about the old track at Kaegebein."

The committee also considered Sidway School until the district began to pursue a new transportation center at the location.

The proposal for Veterans Park would require partial closure of Veterans Park Drive all day June 8 until noon June 9 from the maintenance building to the stop sign near the Miracle League Field. The "track" would be a loop consisting of part of Veterans Park Drive and a parking lot.

Dingey said the committee wants a surface suitable in the event of rain.

A grassy area inside the loop would include an area for survivors tents.

"But these are all preliminary," GI Relay Co-chair Becky Stufkosky said of the plans. "We have a lot we have to put together at this point."

The board approved the concept in accordance with the town's "customary practice for facility use," the motion said.

Cooke said the matter would be referred to the town's Parks and Recreation Department for continued discussion "as we take our normal facility use policies and adapt them to suit this overnight event."

Relays in the past have been Friday-Saturday events, but conflicts with the Grand Island High School senior prom and the Grand Island Rotary Club's Lobsterfest both of which take place on Friday, June 7, persuaded the committee to break from tradition.

"We've never had it on a Saturday," Dingey said. "We're venturing this year."

Other weekends have similar conflicts, with such events as Regents exams and the Sidway Field Day at Beaver Island.

"So we've tried to kind of work around the stuff that was already on the calendar," Dingey said. "And when you're changing locations and setting up from scratch pretty much, you've got to start early."

Dingey and Stufkosky also report that the 2012 GI Relay, whose calendar year ends in August, set a record with more than $160,000 raised, "Which is just amazing," Dingey said.

The effort has put Grand Island in the top 25 in all of New York and New Jersey. In fact, the Grand Island Relay is the No. 1 event west of Syracuse, Dingey said.

Also at Monday's Town Board meeting, the board approved the improvement of facilities of the consolidated water district at an estimated maximum cost of $250,000.

During a public hearing on the issue, Bob Kumm of South Lane, a retiree from the water board in Niagara Falls, supported the plan as well as improvements to the water district generally, and added, "If the Island's going to keep growing, keep building new houses, and you want business in here, you can't tell them you can't use the water."

Councilman Gary Roesch said Kumm's comments regarding the use of water were well taken.

"We need to definitely look at the future water generating improvements, not only to the residents, but also industry," Roesch said. "The life science businesses that we have on Staley Road, they're the largest user of water on Grand Island."

The board received a letter from Rob Belue, executive director of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, thanking the town for its contribution to the success of the seventh annual Paddles Up Niagara event. The event, with had a total registration of 215 paddle boating enthusiasts and 198 water craft, would not have been successful, Belue wrote, without the town's help. He especially thanked Grand Island Parks and Recreation Department Director Linda Tufillaro and the Grand Island Fire Co. for going "the extra mile to make a successful event."

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