By David Yarger
On Tuesday night, the Town of Niagara Town Board held its final meeting of 2017. The meeting was relatively quick, but the end of the meeting held something new for Supervisor Lee Wallace.
With motions approved and done, Wallace took the final 10 minutes of the meeting to honor local citizens and groups with award plaques for what they bring to the Town of Niagara. Groups noticed included, Niagara Active Hose, the Town of Niagara Lions Club, the Belden Center Block Club and citizens who assisted with summer concerts, recreation and the town park.
Wallace said, "This year I came in contact with quite a number of individuals and groups that continually give to this community without asking for anything. So, I thought, I brought the idea to the board, it would be good idea for us as a board to create a new award, which we did, and we'll give these out on a yearly basis to those who devote their time and their energy, to volunteers and employees, who go above and beyond to help promote this town and this community.
"Those who we're honoring tonight have given back in a variety of ways and one thing they all have in common is their willingness to help and give their time and never ask for anything in return. From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for what you do and sincerely, we really appreciate it."
Helping Hands awards were given out to several groups and citizens for their assistance in the summer concert series including, William Jasper Sr., Betty Jasper, Lindsay Jasper and Mary Jasper of Niagara Active Hose Fire Company; Bruce Gorzka, Robert Shively and Edward Sturgeon of the Town of Niagara Lions Club; Gene Pucci, Debbie Pucci, Roseanne Wrobel and Darlene Lindsay who worked in the hospitality tent; and Cheryl Reed, Kathy Hall and Tom Tierney, community volunteers from the Belden Center Block Club.
Extra Mile awards were given to Dominic Senese and Austin Sauer of the Recreation Department; Bill Beckwith and Roger Spurbach with park maintenance; and John Marczyn with the police.
In other news, Wallace shared his condolences for past Town of Niagara Supervisor Jim Sacco. Sacco recently passed away at the age of 81. Wallace praised Sacco, saying, "Jim did a lot for this town when he was the supervisor and he was also a police officer here and three-time county chair and was a driving force in county politics in the 80s' and we wish his family well and our deepest sympathies."
In other news, the town took step one towards a new pathway on Fourth Avenue. The motion Tuesday night made funds possible for the project to take a step in the right direction. The pathway has been discussed due to safety concerns.
The Town Board approved Bryan Barish, Robert Shepard, Art Fijalkowski, Donald Speaker and Christopher Toland as auxiliary police officer for the town pending civil service authorizations. Wallace said the auxiliary police would be used for certain events like the summer concert series.
The board also approved to hire James Bissell as a part-time police officer. Bissell was in attendance and congratulated by citizens and the board.
The board made it official that the road into Veterans Memorial Community Park is now Joe Rotella Way; now anyone looking to Google the address to the park can now type in "Joe Rotella Way."
The board also scheduled a public hearing on Local Law No. 1-2018, establishing a penalty for the failure of a commercial property owner to install and test a backflow preventer, at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.
A late motion was approved for the supervisor to send a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regarding odors coming from industrial businesses within a half-mile, including the Allied Waste landfill.
Wallace noted the scents in the area have been an ongoing problem. He said, "There have been a number of people who've got in the middle of trying to get some action. There has been things that have been done, and there are things that are being done behind the scenes. The DEC has fined Allied, but there are quite a few other facilities in that surrounding area and I just believe, and so does this board, that the investigation needs to expand, and we need to find out if anyone is making contributions to what's going on in that general area."
The Town Board will also be checking out the old Army reserve site on Porter Road. A late motion allows the town access to the site. Wallace said, "We have an engineering firm that we've contracted with via a grant that is doing a feasibility study and a variety of other things going on. Our hope is that this process will end sometime in 2018, and then we can begin the process of selling off the majority of that parcel. We will be keeping about three acres of it that will be used to be a first response and preparedness center, which will house the sheriff's department and Mercy Flight, at this point in time, and there will be some others that may go in their as well."
Wallace noted how the facility could go back on the tax roll for the first time in years, and said this has been an ongoing situation since 2005.
Town Clerk Sylvia Virtuoso announced the winners of the town's holiday decorating contest. The three winners included the Harris family on Dell Drive, the Scibilia family on Grauer Road, and the Rieker family at Quain Place. The winners were awarded $50 gift cards.
The next Town of Niagara Town Board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.
The Town of Niagara honored volunteers and employees who devoted their time and energy, and went above and beyond in 2017 to promote the town and surrounding communities. Supervisor Lee Wallace said, "I am humbled by your generosity of spirit and your compassion, and we wanted you to know that your efforts did not go unnoticed. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to sincerely thank you for all that you do." Above, the honorees are pictured at the Town of Niagara Town Board meeting Tuesday night. (Photo submitted by Marc Carpenter)