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JULY 14 - JULY 22, 2015

Only in NT: Oliver Street Transformation Stagnant in North Tonawanda

By Sweeney Payne

JULY 14, 2015

NT will be distributing $81,000 of Casino funds to the engineering and recreation departments for the installation of 25 planters and seven post street signs on Webster Street and the planting of 12 trees on Oliver Street.  Another $49,000 will be used for Wurlitzer tennis courts and Gratwick Riverside Park.

A resident who spoke at the Council meeting at which these were announced was told by President Rizzo that the City couldn’t pave the two streets she had complained were in dire need of repair.  Rizzo said that in order to pave those streets the City “would have to forego making improvements to the heavily traveled Payne Avenue.”   

He was speaking of the always too little budgeted for street repairs and ignored the suggestion that Casino funds could be used for street repair instead of the suggested uses.

Hopefully, the new planters will last longer than those installed about a decade ago, recently removed to make room for “rain garden” trees.

Why not use such unexpected funds for promoting all of NT as a “destination city”?  Mayor Pappas said in a recent publication "North Tonawanda is becoming a destination." It has been a destination for a number of years but he was probably too busy with other things and didn’t notice.

Can you comprehend the impact large signs at all entrances to NT telling what is in our “destination city” would have on people driving by on the way to communities to the north or to the south would have? They’d realize NT really exists!

Such signs should be on:

• Niagara Falls Boulevard (Route 62) at Witmer and Ward Road (Route 425), Nash, Erie Avenue (Route 429), and Old Falls Boulevard.

• River Road (Route 265/384) at the Wheatfield town line, at Robinson and Wheatfield Street (Route 429), Thompson Street-Taylor Drive, Goundry Street, and the River Road bridge to Erie County.

•he other bridges over Tonawanda Creek, at East Robinson Street, the Twin Cities Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway (Route 425), Main Street (Route 384), Webster Street coming into the revitalized downtown at Gateway Park.

• The Twin Cities Highway at Wheatfield Street (Route 429), Tremont Street (leading to downtown), on Nash at Robinson (leading to the City Market), and at the Meadow-Meadow Drive Extension.

• Goundry and Tremont Streets at Payne, Oliver, Main, and Webster.

• Oliver at Wheatfield, Robinson, Thompson, Goundry, and Tremont.

• Sweeney at East Robinson, Payne, Oliver, Main, and Webster.

• Goundry and Tremont at the Twin City Highway, Payne Avenue, Oliver, Main, and Webster.

• Payne Avenue at Ward, Meadow, Wheatfield, Robinson, Schenck, Thompson, Goundry , Tremont , and Sweeney.

• The Durkee Memorial bridge to Tonawanda Island, and

•In Mid-City Plaza, Budwey’s Plaza, and Wurlitzer Park Plaza.

The wording for each sign should be tailored to directions motorists would take to get to each location.

The following should be included as appropriate on signs: NT Public Library, NT High School, the athletic fields, all parks (including the botanical gardens, Deerwood golf course, and Memorial pool), City Market, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Post Office, NT’s three plazas and the downtown shopping area, Canal and River waterfront areas, military memorials (Veterans Park,  Brauer Memorial Park, Renaissance Bridge), Sweeney Cemetery, museums (North Tonawanda History Museum, Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, Railroad Museum of the Niagara Frontier), art venues (Carnegie Art Center, downtown and Oliver Street), Buffalo Suzuki Strings, theatres (Riviera and Ghostlight); shopping, dining, Chamber of Commerce, City Hall, Police Department, Sikora Post, Dom Polski, Knights of Columbus, etc. 

In the downtown area, more signs directing visitors to parking other than in Webster Street’s limited number of spots is important. Making the Manhattan Street lot easier to find is important. Even many residents don’t know where Manhattan Street is!

People visit NT year round, not just in summer tourist and outdoor events seasons. Most visitors to NT and many residents have no idea of all that we have here.

This would not be a one year project—but those LCDC people know how to get grants for what they consider important projects.

We taxpayers say the City cannot afford to not do this if it is genuine about promoting NT as a “destination city.”

Instead of pie-in-the sky studies by out-of-town architects and engineers with no genuine appreciation for NT other than their monetary benefits from writing up reports, go for grants for street repairs on all streets and signs to tell potential visitors what we have here and how to find it.





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