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MAY 19 - MAY 26, 2015

Only in NT - Word on the Street And Rumors in the Wind

By Sweeney Payne

May 26, 2015

Carnegie Art Center - former Carnegie Library

The Carnegie Art Center is not being discarded as earlier news articles elsewhere made it sound. Too bad, however, that the City let the building go so long and had to get a $335,000 State grant to bring it back to proper condition. The building belongs to the City. What arrangements are being made to reimburse this fine non-profit arts organization for repairing the City’s property over the years? The organization put up with City negligence on the building for decades.

Of course, remember it’s the same City that treated Don Swartz and company so badly before they got fed up and started their own organization and got their own building for Ghostlight Theatre!

Recent “Re-Imagine Oliver Street” sessions considered by public officials as "public sessions" which were not well publicized and were sparsely attended, have been criticized by some of the non-public officials who attended as not being held to seriously obtain public opinion. Questioning at individual tables focused on what LCDC wanted the answers to be.

A couple of genuine residents in attendance say notes they saw taken were not what was said at their tables. A resident complained Chuck Bell is with the firm being paid to do this meaningless charade. He was with LCDC when Burgio created it, left to take on a similar role with Lockport's economic development and recently was hired by the outside consulting firm that was presenting the sessions for LCDC.

We've paid for useless studies, albeit with grant money. Bell had a role in ordering and getting grant money. We really need our Mayor and Common Council members and department heads to start ordering studies we really need and want. They should be the ones who know what they are all about, not just yes men to highly-paid outside consultants hired by their highly-paid "economic development" gurus.

Several attendees at the Oliver Street workshops report that the “75 attendees” reported were mostly City officials, LCDC staff and board with a handful of residents. Few people knew it was taking place. Why didn’t they announce it with water-sewer bills and property tax bills?

Overheard at one of those sessions were LCDC chair Taylor and others from LCDC discussing getting the NT History Museum out of its building and putting it into the old power building on Robinson Street. Someone should tell those fools that supporters of the history museum invested private money into owning their own building, with no help from LCDC, and LCDC (meaning Taylor, Burgio and company) cannot “put them” anywhere.

Rumors are rife also about threats of arson to eliminate existing properties owned by others standing in the way of Burgio’s property ownership plans. How dare he? He should go back to the Town of Tonawanda where he came from!

How about getting a new chair at LCDC? Taylor appears to have been a permanent Burgio placement.  How about some transparency on appointments to their board?

Recent information obtained about environmental sites in North Tonawanda has made many ask if there was remediation when constructing the Carrousel Apartments, on the Auto Wheel Coaster site on Schenck or the Thompsont-Geneva site of the Herschell plant. The word is that the former Jones Lumber and Paper Mill sites are an environmental nightmare, as is the marina that had the fire of “unidentified origin.”

What’s happening with the splashily announced expansion of the Riv on their brownfield site? People say Burgio controlled their board and got rid of Cannata. There were photo-ops aplenty for Mayor Ortt at the groundbreaking. He said on TV, "We're all about the future, not about the past." Where is the development there? Will it take as long as the Meadow Drive extension and be as useless?

People are wondering if Burgio is targeting the YWCA building to add to his control of Webster Street from Gateway Park to Goundry. They say many connected to him were on the local “Y” board, including his wife, and got it merged with two other “Y’s” in the County.

Many of us are picking up on and sharing sentiments about what is really desired for NT. Why don't our city officials pick up on what those they are supposed to serve want?

Free yourselves of the political bosses, and listen to us, not your colleagues on the Council or party bosses. Don't treat us as if we are invisible and continue ignoring the will of the people while you bow down low to the party bosses.

New marquee going up at the Riviera in 2014






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