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SEP 22 - SEP 29, 2015

Only in NT: The total disconnect between needs of residents and City

By Sweeney Payne

SEP 22, 2015


Give us a break!


Nash Road is a "tight fit" for cars passing next to each other - per representatives of Parsons, Brinckerhoff and City Engineer Dale Marshall in recent news articles about Council meetings?

What size cars are those?

The Engineering Department is using Parson Brinckerhoff, Joe Fonzi's firm. No conflict of interest there with his having served over the years on just about every board and commission in NT, including his current and past role on the Historic Preservation Commission, and past roles on the Environmental Committee (his wife Mary Kate served on this one also), the Waterfront Commission, and Lumber City Development. City Attorney Shawn Nickerson wouldn't know a conflict of interest if it slapped him in the face.  An annual review of whose who on the various boards and commissions proves that, with even developers who will benefit from taxpayer funded grants like David Burgio and Paul Brown being appointed to the Planning Board.

Of all the urgent needs residents of the rest of NT have been ignored on, that Fred Frank, of Parson, Brinckerhoff, can pompously state that, "the road is lined with houses, but the street itself does not feel like part of the neighborhood" is insulting to those of us who live on Nash Road, most of us for decades.

 It's a road, for heaven's sake! It’s a route from the Town of Wheatfield through to the Town of Tonawanda. It isn't supposed to be “part” of the neighborhood! It's a neighborhood street which connects with Niagara Falls Boulevard on the north and then becomes the "Expressway to Nowhere" at Erie Avenue that eventually gets you to the 290 entrances on the south.  The "Expressway to Nowhere" is the part that should be "fixed"--or removed totally, giving us back Division Street as a two-way road.

City Engineer Dale Marshall said in the article, "Part of this project is giving the road back to the residents." It already belongs to the residents. Has anyone in City Hall (not the overpaid consultants they waste our money on) asked the actual residents of Nash Road?

Too bad Marshall and Brad Rowles don't figure out how to give us back Division Street and eliminate the "Expressway to Nowhere" cutting the city in half. Plans from the 1970s intended the Expressway to connect with the LaSalle Expressway and the Lockport Expressway.  Neither connection ever happened. Our original two-lane Division Street, if widened at that part would serve us all better than our "Expressway to Nowhere." That would really be giving the "road" back to residents!

Appointed Mayor Arthur Pappas, who lives on Forbes Street, was quoted in the news article as saying, "I like the concept itself and I like what they have done on Brighton Road." He also likes what they did on Delaware and Harlem. Those streets are not in North Tonawanda.  He continued "Nash Road I detest. I have to use it every day. I often think of selling the house just so I don't have to drive down Nash Road."

Could he move to Wheatfield or the Town of Tonawanda, please? His teaching career was at Starpoint, not in NT.  Imagine if he had to take Oliver Street every day! Now that is a road that really needs fixing! Hopefully, he won't be elected in November to the office he was appointed to by party leaders. Then he won't have to drive down Nash Road every day.

Get real, fools! With all the things you don't take care of in NT, making Nash Road more cozy for Art Pappas shouldn't be a priority. Those who moved to that section of town knew Nash Road was there when they bought their homes.

The residents who live in the other three-fourths of the city don’t get their streets fixed, sewers and flooding problems are ignored, parks aren’t up to snuff anymore. There are areas of the city that have had flooding problems for decades.  Parts of Witmer Road are still a disgrace.  Residents in the Rumbold area complain often about flooding in their basements.  Streets appear to get fixed with the priority of sections relating to who lives along them and how politically connected they are, such as those sections along Oliver Street where Paul Brown owns many properties The Botanical Gardens is a disgrace.  Pinewoods Park in the evening needs more police monitoring so residents can feel safe there. Slumlord owners like Paul Brown (who is on the Planning Board) get taxpayer funded grants and assistance to fix up the outsides of their dumps while their tenants live in unsafe conditions.  None of that is the case over on Forbes Street, the closest street to the Town of Wheatfield, where Mayor Pappas lives.

Why did Lumber City Development Corp. get funding to "revitalize" Oliver Street, as they did with Webster Street, mostly for Paul Brown’s “territory” on Oliver Street, Schenck to Wheatfield?  He also owns properties further north on Oliver, especially 408 Oliver which Mayor Soos  (who hasn't been Mayor since 2009) wanted torn down in 2006 but the Council allowed Brown to buy it anyhow. Why don't code enforcement people look at the apartments he rents in it? Scheduled to be torn down by the city because of its condition in 2006, he bought it, filled it with tenants living in unsafe conditions and never brought it up to code.  Sweeney Payne has talked to several of his past tenants about their living conditions.

Why hasn’t Paul Brown been forced to make his rental units safe for occupants? Mice, missing stair rails, wiring in need of updating.  We were told that when the NT History Museum was a tenant at 314 Oliver, they had to report him to housing court and have the gas company shut off the gas another time to get him to fix the heating system. The History Museum often shares the history of its early years with members and their four years as his tenant included some hysterical times, if they hadn't been examples of his no maintenance.

Why was Brown allowed to ruin the old Central Bank building’s appearance for years with those faded and awful excuses for art of fish? Workers with his new grant funding appear to be replacing the windows that were under the "art work" Now Lumber City Development Corp is helping pay to “fix” that.

Shouldn't the residents have a say in who should benefit from these grants? Why isn’t he fined for all the littering his drug addict and alcoholic tenants do?  How dare LCDC give him taxpayer grant funding for the outsides of his derelict rental properties? How much of their grant for Oliver Street is he benefiting from anyhow? Why do our City officials have to ask other residents help them clean up after Brown’s tenants one day a year with an Oliver Street cleanup day?

More of Oliver Street is being blacktopped—naturally in the section where Brown’s properties are.

We are grateful that Dr. Maurice Dewey is donating oriental trees and the landscaping service to plant them to make the land in front of the Railroad Museum on Oliver Street look nicer.  Is he going to maintain them once planted?  Does he realize that NT doesn’t maintain trees or plants, the reason they took out all of the trees and lovely gardens the Dave Burgio’s Project Pride organization had planted and put in rain gardens.   Is the Railroad Museum, with its limited volunteers, going to end up having to care for the trees?  They are very rarely able to be open because of their lack of sufficient volunteers and have no actual schedule.

Why don’t City officials, their overpaid consultants like Parker, Brinckerhoff, department heads Dale Marshall and Brad Rowles that are disconnected-from-the-reality-of-residents’-needs LCDC actually communicate with us instead of planning as if we don’t exist?






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