By David Yarger
Tuesday night, the Town of Niagara held its monthly Town Board meeting and discussed a variety of topics, including the Grenga property on Military Road and the Fourth Avenue pathway.
Regarding the Fourth Avenue path, which will provide a safe walking area for residents of the Royal Park apartments down the street heading toward Military Road, the board approved a revised plan at a cost of $663,000. Supervisor Lee Wallace said the revision is an increase of around $10,000.
Of the funding, 80% will be funded through a federal program called the Transportation Alternatives Program, while 20% will be funded by the town.
There was a public information session last summer for residents to see the design of the path and, as Wallace said Tuesday, projects like the path are a lengthy process.
Speaking of lengthy processes, the board authorized Wallace to sign the Department of Environmental Conversation brownfield cleanup agreement and any and all documents regarding the cleanup of the Grenga property. The location at 4435-4445 Military Road has been constantly called an “eyesore” by Wallace, the board and residents.
The town has been looking to get rid of the property for some time now. Wallace expected it would be gone by May, but now anticipates work to be completed in the next month.
“Everything takes so long,” Wallace said. “It’s been four years in the making and we started this process over four years ago. It took us a while, first of all, (for) the phase one and phase two of the environmental study to make sure that the cleanup wasn’t going to be so costly and that outlandish and extreme that we couldn’t afford it. … Once that was done, we had to get the county to foreclose on the property, then they had to transfer it to us, then we applied for the brownfield grant. I mean, it’s just a lengthy process. Then the DEC got involved and didn’t like some of the sampling that was done. They made us go back and do some more sampling. Then they had a public referendum period and that got extended; that got delayed. … And that just ended.”
Wallace added, “Things take time.”
At the end of the agenda, two late items were approved to schedule public hearings. The first public hearing is regarding the rezoning of three properties on Fourth Avenue from R-1 to B-1. The second will hear comments regarding a solid waste management facility in a heavy industrial area.
Of the second public hearing scheduled, Wallace said, “We just called for the public hearing. We don’t have any real big information on it, but to save a month, we called for the public hearing. And if we don’t like what we see then we table it.”
The board opened the meeting with three public hearings, all of which drew no comment. The first discussed local law 2-2019 regarding panhandling.
Wallace said there have been some less-fortunate people who are going up to cars and asking others for items at stop lights and other areas of the town.
The new law, which Wallace expects to be passed at next month’s meeting, will state that panhandling is not allowed in the municipality, but, he added, fundraisers such as boot brigades will continue with proper permits from the town.
During public input, town employee Roger Spurback revealed his frustration toward pet owners in the town. Spurback said he has noticed residents leaving their pets’ waste in the park.
“I work in the park, and there are people that are pet owners who are very irresponsible,” Spurback said. “They’re not picking up the excrement from their dogs, and I’m getting tired of hitting it with the mower and stinking up half the parking lot. We have to come up with some type of solution.”
Wallace told Spurback to wait until the walker is leaving the park in their vehicle, then attempt to get a license plate number so it could possibly be tracked.
The next Town of Niagara Town Board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23.