Skating opens Sunday and continues to Jan. 8, 2023
√ Town OKs American Rescue plan monies for essential workers during COVID
By Terry Duffy
As the 2022 holiday season opens, the Town of Lewiston has some good news for the community and for the town’s essential workers employees: At Monday’s work session, board members announced an agreement with Niagara University for open skating at the Dwyer Ice Arena during the holiday season.
Open to the River Region community, with some special offerings for Town of Lewiston residents, the program opens Sunday, Nov. 20, and continues and continues to Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023.
This follows the earlier town announcement that the Lewiston Family Ice Rink at Academy Park would not be open during the 2022 holiday season.
At NU, the cost will be $5 for open skating and $3 for rentals. A special $2 discount coupon is being offered to Town of Lewiston residents only for multiple visits to the complex, while the general public would pay the listed price. Season pass options will be available for this NU public skate holiday offering.
Information for the discount coupon and season pass offerings is available at Town Hall, on the Recreation Department links at www.lewistonsports.com, and on Facebook.
Recreation Director Cathy Cvijetinovic said, “We’re excited to partner with Dwyer Arena. We’re going to be doing free admission on the first day, Nov. 20; and on the last day, Jan. 8, there will be free skating for all Lewiston residents on these days. We’re looking forward to this.”
Supervisor Steve Broderick praised Niagara University for its work with the town to make this a reality.
“Cathy and I sat down with NU … they’ve been fantastic to deal with. They’re excited about the opportunity. Kathy will (also) some different activities. She will be having a skate with Santa, plus other events.”
Broderick said, “(Dwyer) will be using both rinks ... the main rink and the auxiliary rink, and there’s some fun things they can do with the main rink. We’re really excited.”
The town announced there will also be opportunity to purchase season passes, priced at $50 for residents with no skate rentals, and $85 for residents with skate rentals. Non-town residents could purchase season passes for $90 with no skate rental, or $125 with skate rentals, according to town postings.
“And again, there will be $2 coupons available (from the town) and at Dwyer Arena. You just have to show your ID (for parents and children),” Broderick said. With the coupons, “Every time you go, you’ll get a $1 (discount); it’s not just limited to one (skate).”
Broderick said, “We’re really excited. I know it didn’t work out with the ice rink in Academy Park (this year). So this is an alternative, and hopefully everybody takes advantage of it.”
Free skating will be available to all for the Nov. 20 opening and Jan. 8 closing dates. Broderick stressed the NU holiday skate program offering is “not limited to Lewiston residents. (But) the coupons will be limited (only) to Town of Lewiston residents.”
Broderick said a total of 22 opportunities would be available for public skating during the holidays at the Dwyer complex under the NU agreement. Skating times will vary, according to postings found on the Recreation Department’s website and Facebook page. Broderick noted NU is working on adding more sessions and, if successful, skating availability at Dwyer could be expanded.
Councilman Geiben said the program will have various time periods for users: “If some kids have different activities, they could get out to skate once or twice a week.”
Broderick said, “They (NU) went through all the times, there were certain dates where Niagara is out of school or Lew-Port or Niagara-Wheatfield, as well. They’ve put some daytime activities on those days, so they picked times. All these times coincide (with kids) being out of school.”
He said the arena’s snack bar and concessions would be open during skate times.
Broderick added the town is also considering adding activities for parents who bring their children to the skating at Dwyer.
Skate sharpening will also be available at the rink.
In other news:
•The Town Board unanimously adopted its $18,209,035 budget.
“(It’s a) sound budget; tough times, too,” Broderick said, as he thanked town Finance/Budget Director Jacqueline A. Agnello for all her work in developing the plan.
•The town announced that American Rescue Plan monies would be coming to the town’s “essential workers” who served during the coronavirus pandemic.
Broderick said, “Jacque was also busy with (this). When we put our water project in a few years ago, it (the original cost) came in for more than what we thought. And COVID hit, and the federal government came up with ARCO money. The ARCO money could be used for several things – infrastructure, water improvements. So, we had two installments, a 2021 installment and 2022 installments.
“The 2021 installment, 100% went to the water project. The project came in under the bid price, which helped. So now that the dust is settled on our water project, we have ARCO money left over. I’ve talked with several board members and with Jacque. I think it’s time that we share leftover money.”
Broderick then went on to present a resolution that recognizes “town employees working through the COVID-19 pandemic, and COVID-19 (with) essential worker premium pay.
Broderick said the federal program covers workers who continued to work from March 2020 during government and service shutdowns throughout the U.S. He said that, during this timeframe, many Town of Lewiston employees were still required to report to work throughout the shutdown, “despite the heightened challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The Town of Lewiston Board appreciates the hard work and dedication of all its employees,” the resolution reads. “… The Town of Lewiston especially recognizes those first responders and employees who worked throughout the COVID 19 shutdown, amidst the heightened challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Broderick said eligible employees “shall be those active employees or those who have retired” who worked in the Town of Lewiston from the time period of April 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020.”
Union and nonunion employees shall be compensated with $2,500 going to full-time employees, and $1,250 for part-time employees, during the period of April 1, 2020, to July 31, 2020, and that “only full-time elected officials would be compensated, which includes the town clerk and town highway superintended,” according to the resolution.
The motion by Broderick and seconded by Geiben was approved unanimously by the board.
“I want to thank everybody who works for the Town of Lewiston, and (we) couldn’t do it right away, but now that the dust has settled, we’re able to do something for our employees. It will be a nice Christmas bonus,” he said.