By Benjamin Joe
The City of North Tonawanda Common Council convened with Mayor Arthur Pappas to hold a regular meeting right before Election Day. Officials encouraged residents to vote, and residents took time to hold elected officials accountable for different issues in the city.
However, one of the issues that was not looked at was the budget, which was submitted to the council by the mayor late in October.
“We tabled it, because we have a lot of residents still reaching out to us,” Alderman-at-Large Robert Peccaro said. “We’re working with those residents to make the changes that are needed, but the bottom line is we will have it done by the deadline.”
Instead, Pinewoods Park, and the renovation of some heavily wooded areas with it, was the subject on many residents’ minds.
“I used to live right next to Pinewoods Park for a long time,” said Mary Kate Fonzi, resident and former chair of the environmental committee, a mayoral advisory panel now defunct. “I have been getting calls because of my history there. … I would like to start with you guys in finding out about this (disc) golf thing that’s happening in the park and what the plan is.”
“Back in January, we were approached by some disc-golfing enthusiasts in regard to some of the issues we’ve been having with the (disc) golf course,” said Alex Domaradzki, director of the North Tonawanda department of youth, recreation, parks and seniors. “Generally, people play forwards and then come back playing backwards. People going through the front nine are running into people playing in the backline.
“A couple of gentlemen approached us in regards to looking to revamp the course and add an additional nine holes. We talked about some things. … They provided a design to expand the course.”
Disc golf is a sport in which a frisbee is thrown toward different baskets, which act as “holes” in a traditional golf competition. Score is kept by adding points to each throw. The player with the least points wins.
Fonzi took issue with the clearing of brush and dead trees within the course. She said migratory birds would be affected by these actions.
“I’m not saying this is good, bad or otherwise; if you like this game, then it’s good. If you’re into eco-systems and maintaining natural habitat, it’s very bad,” she said.
Domaradzki said the dead trees and brush would not be taken out of the park.
“Nothing was taken out,” he said.
“It’s not going to encourage any kind of wildlife, and someone walking with their dog and going with their kids to look at mushrooms on trees is not going to really be able to do that in an area with frisbee baskets or whatever these are,” Fonzi said.
Other residents, disc golfers and non-disc golfers, came to the defense of Domaradzki.
“Just to offer support of the disc-golf course in Pinewoods Park,” said one player. “It’s going to bring more people into the park. It’s pretty low maintenance.”
In Other News
A letter about rats in parts of North Tonawanda was cited by a resident who said she’s seen people feeding peanuts to wild-life in the area.
“I have personally not seen any rats, but I’ve seen people feeding the animals, feeding peanuts,” she said. “There’s a child in the family who is severely allergic, could kill him if he eats these peanuts. … In this letter it says the City of North Tonawanda can’t do anything about these (rats) on private property. Do you know why?”
“I received a few complaints, in three areas,” Alderman-at-Large Austin Tylec said. “It’s tough for the city. We’re not exterminators, but we can at least help educate the neighborhood. So, like you’re saying, if people are feeding rats like they’re birds, that’s a problem.”
Tylec said the letter was mailed out to residents to let them know of the problem and give a few tips of how to lessen it. For instance, covering up food trash, and not letting garbage pile up. Tylec said he would meet with the resident later.
“Thank you for bringing that to our attention,” Third Ward Alderman and Common Council President Eric Zadzilka said.
Get Out The vote
At the end of the meeting, officials took time to address the coming election.
“It’s very, very important to vote,” Second Ward Alderman Donna Braun said. “I’ve walked door to door for a while and a lot of people said, ‘Oh, my vote doesn’t count.’ But in our little city, it counts. Please get out there and cast your vote. And I really thank people who have come in to share what’s going on in Pinewoods.”
“As tomorrow is Election Day, be sure to get out there and vote,” City Clerk Matt Parrish said. “I would just like to thank – regardless of what ends up happening tomorrow – all of the council, as well as Luke (Brown, city attorney) and the mayor for providing me this opportunity for this year. Not everybody is able to ever sit up here and do this, and I just greatly appreciate it, and I just hope I can continue this for another four years. So, get out and vote and thank you all.”