Mayor seeks second term
Submitted by Mayor Anne Welch
Just four years ago this month, I wrote to the Sentinel and introduced myself to you and asked you to support me for mayor of the Village of Lewiston. Thanks to you, I am now Mayor Anne Welch. Thank you for believing in me and electing me four years ago. It has been an exciting and productive time for me and for our village.
It has been my pleasure working with my fellow Village Board members who have supported our many endeavors. I have also had the privilege of working with our great village staff, an excellent Department of Public Works, building and fire inspectors, historian, recreation director and the members on our boards and commissions. Recently, our village treasurer issued her report detailing our ability to operate within our budget. I am pleased to say that the village is financially sound and we will not have a tax increase. I am grateful for all their help making these past four years so successful.
During my term as mayor, the village has prospered in spite of the COVID pandemic. We did what we could to help the businesses and residents. We lowered municipal rents and waived fees for businesses and residents during COVID. We also allowed sandwich board signs for curbside pickup and dropped off road cones to designate the pickup parking spaces. This proved very successful and helped to keep our restaurants going. Residents and visitors were glad to be able to call in their menu orders and pick them up at the curb without worry and contact.
I was able to secure several grants, including $1.2 million for the reconstruction of our damaged waterfront, $450,000 for the all-inclusive playground and splash pad at Marilyn Toohey Park, redevelopment of Academy Park and its restroom, the relocation and expansion of the bandshell, a new bike path and two electric vehicle charging stations. There are current plans to build a large pavilion at Academy Park to house the Lewiston Market, the Peach Festival and many events, festivals and family gatherings.
As your clerk and now as your mayor, aggressive grant applications have resulted in the return of your tax dollars for these projects. I will continue to seek further grant funding to accomplish needed improvements in our infrastructure.
The sale of the Frontier House to a private developer was a major accomplishment, and it is currently being restored to its former glory. There are many new developments, like the Eighth and Center streets plaza; the Fairchild Apartments; the opening up and redevelopment of the corner of North Fourth and Center streets, featuring the new Gallo restaurant; the new building at 444 Center St., which is now the new home to Alfonso Marra Bax, Esq., Brewed & Bottled, Battle Flag Tavern, Mad Hatter’s Tea House, and Sgt. Peppers. There have also been extensive recent renovations of several of our Lewiston businesses, and many new businesses have opened in the village. The faith of our business community in the village is on display with the rebuilding of the Brickyard, devastated by fire. Residents throughout the village are investing in their property, and home values continue to increase at a rapid rate.
It has been 22 years since Center Street was redone. So, I petitioned the New York State Department of Transportation to reconstruct and repave Center Street, and to install new street signs. The brick crosswalks are being removed, because they have deteriorated and have become hazardous to pedestrians. New York state no longer permits brick crosswalks in state highways. The new, resurfaced Center Street will be a much-needed improvement to our village. As always, the health, safety and welfare of our residents is my top priority.
The Village of Lewiston covers approximately one square mile along the Lower Niagara River with a beautiful waterfront park, boat launching facilities, residential boat slips and other amenities that allow picnicking, pleasure and commercial boating, and world-class fishing. It is also home to the Whirlpool Jet Boat and the Artpark Performing Arts Center. These attractions alone draw thousands of visitors and residents every year. Lewiston also has a vibrant and walkable commercial area, many historic buildings and sites, recreational parks and bike trails. After serving on the New York State Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) Committee, the Village Board adopted this guideline that will further advance our goals to protect, promote and enhance our waterfront, business district, historic district, parks and recreation. This also allows the village to apply for more grant opportunities.
After a long career in public service – 31 years as clerk, three years as Planning Commission member and four years as mayor – I have the knowledge and experience to continue to lead our village to an even brighter future. We have made great progress in the last four years, and I look forward to continuing making Lewiston the best it can be.
Please help me by reelecting me as your mayor on June 21 in the Red Brick gym, 145 N. Fourth St., so that I may continue to serve you.