By Terry Duffy
Members of the Niagara River Green Commission Host Communities Standing Committee met last week for a brief session, where approvals were made for projects in the Town of Lewiston and the City of North Tonawanda.
In Lewiston, the Pletcher Road playground replacement project saw approval for $15,537.37 in funding that will see installation of a new swing-set arrangement at the park.
According to earlier Town Board discussions, the project will see a change from a two-bay swing-set to a three-bay setup, and increase from four to six swings in the playground setting at the park. Recreation Director Mike Dashineau said the swings would remain at the same height, and the project is intended to better fill the play area in the park.
At Sanborn Town Park, $91,250 was approved for improvements to the playground surface area.
“Sanborn Park Playground, when it was approved (earlier), they were going to put wood chips in, and I was contacted by the Sanborn firehall and they did not want wood chips there,” said Standing Committee member and Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Broderick.
He noted Sanborn fire officials saw the plans for Pletcher Road and desired a similar surface material to provide better stability for users versus wood chips.
“What they (Sanborn Fire officials) did, they want two other pieces of equipment (included), and they paid for it out of their own budget, with no additional charge to the town,” Broderick said.
Both projects met the Standing Committee’s requirements and were approved unanimously without comment by the eight-member board.
In North Tonawanda, the Riviera Theatre phase 3 expansion, sponsored by Niagara County, was approved for $2 million in funding.
The Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society, which submitted the funding request to Niagara County, said phase 3 of the expansion “includes conceptual design plans and an operational study for a recently acquired 6,195-square-foot building at 71 Webster St. Funding is expected to provide for converting of the existing space into modern amenities for theater patrons, including updated restrooms, a concession and bar area, updated dressing rooms for performers and an overall building renovation.”
Once complete, the project, “will give the Riviera Theatre a greater downtown footprint and street front presence, and allow for new, accessible restroom facilities as well as larger and more accessible lobby to improve the general patron experience,” according to an adopted Niagara County Legislature resolution.
“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Standing Committee member Mark Laurie of the Niagara Falls School District on the theater plans. “I can visualize what they’re doing; it gets crowded in that lobby area. … I have a real appreciation (for this). It’s just a beautiful facility.”
“It always has been,” agreed Standing Committee Chairman Lee Wallace, supervisor of the Town of Niagara. “The drawback was always that lobby and the restroom areas.”
Soon after, Standing Committee members approved funding for the Riviera project.