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Gateway Market, 'Rockin' the River' return

Fri, Mar 27th 2015 07:00 am

By Autumn Evans

Tribune Editor

Two more summer events were added to North Tonawanda's calendar at its Common Council work session Tuesday.

Suzanne Todaro, chairman of the T-NT Gateway Market, and Kathy Paradowski, coordinator of the "Rockin' the River" concert series, approached the council to ask for the city's support in this year's events.

Todaro, the first to speak, updated the council on changes in this year's market. She said steps were taken to correct some of the issues the market faced last year, namely with parking and food trucks.

The owners of properties surrounding Gateway Park were not notified before last year's event, leading them to complain about the sudden lack of parking around those buildings. Todaro said it was a "communication issue," where both Gateway and the market committee thought the other would be notifying the surrounding properties. She said this year notification will be sent out well in advance.

In terms of food trucks, vendors will be subject to stricter guidelines. Tom Croop, assistant fire chief and fire prevention officer, spoke to the board about the changes in food truck regulations. He said last year about half of the vendors were not in compliance with the law. Some vendors would leave their trucks in the hands of people who did not know how to operate the equipment in case of an emergency.

Croop said there was a close call last year when a fryer in one of the food trucks turned into a blast furnace, and the only reason the truck did not burn down was that the employee was properly trained and knew how to deal with the situation. He said enforcement and training will be stricter this year.

"Everybody's gonna kick up their game a bit," Croop said.

This year, the market will run from 5 to 8 p.m. every Thursday from June 2 to July 9 and July 30 to Oct. 1, for a total of 16 weeks.

The later end date is the result of increased demand, Todaro said.

"(After the event) I had people walking in my store on Thursday night, 'Where are the food trucks?' " she said. "That was a good problem to have, but we were a little taken aback, we didn't really think about going further."

Todaro said that last year, the market was self-sufficient, and they ended the year with a $450 surplus. She said profits this year would go toward things like purchasing new planters and banners for the area.

Later, the "Rockin' the River" concert series was also discussed. Paradowski announced a possible name change to call the event "North Tonawanda's Rockin' the River."

"When you go to the series in Artpark, everyone knows that the series is in Lewiston. When you go to the harbor, it's called 'Buffalo Rocks the Harbor,' so everybody knows where they're going, they're going to Buffalo," she said. "So we thought maybe to tweak the name a little bit so that people knew where the series was. Also, to showcase North Tonawanda."

The board expressed support for the name change.

The concerts will be held at 4 or 5 p.m. Friday nights between July 10 to July 31. The shows will be free, with paid parking.

At the end of the work session, the board went into executive session regarding potential litigation.

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