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Erie County investments on Grand Island repair roads, invigorate storefronts, aid municipal planning


Fri, Aug 18th 2023 01:30 pm

Poloncarz, legislators, town officials meet at Brick Oven Pizzeria to review county investments including recent $385,000 mill & overlay on East River Road, storefront revitalization at eatery, municipal planning grant

Submitted by the Office of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz

Erie County investments in infrastructure, local small businesses, and critical aid for municipal planning are all in evidence this summer on Grand Island with the completion of significant road work, revitalized businesses, and the award of a planning grant to guide further growth on the Island.

On Thursday, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined Erie County legislators Michael Kooshoian (3rd District) and John Bargnesi (4th District), Town Planner James Sharpe, and the owner of Brick Oven Pizzeria, Michael Wilke, at Brick Oven Pizzeria to review the progress.

Poloncarz said, “Erie County is hard at work this summer, addressing more than 113 miles of county roads, extending critical assistance to over 200 local small businesses with our Storefront Revitalization Grant program, and helping municipalities better plan for their own future growth. We see all of that in action here today on Grand Island, and I thank our commissioners and county personnel for the hard work they’re doing to help build a better Erie County. I also thank our partners in the legislature, some of whom are here today, for supporting these programs that benefit all county residents.”

The Erie County Department of Public Works’ Highways Division recently announced the completion of road work on East River Road on Grand Island. Mill and overlay operations took place on East River from Stony Point to Baseline, a stretch of 1.25 miles and an investment of $385,000. East River Road has a traffic count of 1,227 vehicles per day. This follows recent work completed on Long and Baseline roads.

Commissioner of Public Works Bill Geary said, “This year, we are investing nearly $50 million in road projects countywide, addressing more than 113 miles of county roads to provide residents and motorists with the infrastructure they expect. We are getting as much work done as possible, weather-permitting, and will continue as long as the weather cooperates.”

Kooshoian said, “I’m excited to see road work has been completed on East River Road. I want to thank Commissioner Geary, Deputy Commissioner (Karen) Hoak, and the entire highway division for their hard work in making sure this project is completed. I’m happy the county invested over $300K in this project.”

Geary and Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Environment and Planning Thomas Baines, along with departmental personnel, were also in attendance at the event.

Hundreds of small businesses across Erie County are rejuvenating their storefronts and reinvigorating business thanks to the Erie County Storefront Revitalization Grant program, administered by ECDEP, which is investing $15 million over two years in the program to assist local small business owners.

Brick Oven Pizzeria & Pub, the recipient of a $40,000 Storefront Revitalization Grant, invested in a new concrete patio for the restaurant to increase business. At the same time, business owner Wilke invested significant funding of his own, replacing the glass at the front of the restaurant and performing other upgrades.

Sharpe, chair of the town's Comprehensive Review Advisory Board and a former Grand Island deputy supervisor, said, "I want to thank County Executive Poloncarz, county legislators Kooshoian and Bargnesi, and the county as a whole for their outstanding partnership in the effort to modernize our infrastructure and support Grand Island's business community. These projects keep our community moving forward while maintaining the quality of life our residents expect and have worked so hard to preserve."

Kooshoian said, “A top priority of the administration and the legislature over the last few years has been supporting small businesses. The storefront revitalization program is assisting our small business owners in beautifying their business, but also their communities. Thank you to the county executive, Commissioner Dan Castle, and DEP for administering this great program. And congratulations to the owners of Brick Oven Pizza.”

Bargnesi said, “This is a great day for the residents of Grand Island. Thank you to the county executive, Commissioner Geary, Deputy Commissioner Hoak, and the Highway Division for their hard work in getting this work completed. And congratulations to the owners of Brick Oven Pizza for their Storefront Revitalization Grant. This program has been very beneficial to our small business owners around the county. I want to thank the county executive and Commissioner Castle and his team for their hard work getting these funds to our business owners.”

Additionally, Castle announced Grand Island received a $30,000 Erie County Municipal Planning Grant to prepare a parks, recreation, and open space master plan, which will prioritize their future investments in parks and recreational facilities and become part of their overall town comprehensive plan.

Poloncarz noted, “Municipal planning grants give towns and villages the ability to plan their community spaces, making them more livable and walkable, and improving the quality of life for residents. By providing these grants, Erie County gives a boost to local communities and helps them to grow in community-friendly and sustainable ways for the future.”

Background on East River Road

The Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council scored east River Road as a 6 prior to work beginning. The GBNRTC surface condition rating reflects the amount of scaling, cracking, patching, raveling and faulting on a road’s surface. The ratings of these measures are made on a 1 to 10 scale, where 1 represents the “poorest” roadway condition and 10 the “best” roadway condition. Pavement scores above 6 are considered a satisfactory pavement condition, while a score of 6 (fair) denotes minor deterioration. Surface scores of 5 and below indicate conditions that should be corrected to prevent further deterioration, and the need for complete reconstruction at much higher cost.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Public Works, visit https://www3.erie.gov/dpw/.

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