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It's a sure sign spring is coming to Cheektowaga.

Picnic shelter permits in town parks will go on sale beginning March 7.

Doors at the Town Park Recreation Center off Harlem Road will open at 7:15 a.m. that day, but the line usually starts forming a lot earlier, officials said.

The early birds will be trying to get the shelter they want on the day they want it, according to town parks employees.

Picnic shelters in the town's premier park, the 300-acre Stiglmeier Park off Losson Road, traditionally are booked most quickly. On the other hand, people planning large family reunions or company picnics might prefer Town Park on Harlem because some of its shelters have electricity, explained Kenneth J. Kopacz, executive director of the Parks, Recreation and Youth Services Department.

On March 7, shelter permits for Town and Stiglmeier parks will be issued from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Numbers will be given out when the doors open at 7:15.

On March 8 and 9, the scene switches to the Stiglmeier Park office at 500 Losson, where the scheduled hours are 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on those days and on Wednesdays and Fridays for the rest of the season.

The town's shelter fee is $25. Shelters with electricity cost another $10.

Permits for either park can be obtained during the scheduled hours at Town and Stiglmeier parks.

Akron names public works head

The Akron Village Board has appointed Robert W. Kowalik superintendent of the Department of Public Works at a starting salary of $52,000 annually, effective Tuesday.

Kowalik, a resident of Akron, succeeds Daniel R. Huff, who retired in December after 25 years with the village. Kowalik worked for New York State Electric & Gas Corp. for 27 years.

A $2,500 annual pay increase was approved for James Akin, the village's deputy public works superintendent.

In another matter, Akin said the Sear Brown Group engineering firm is conducting a site evaluation of the dam and spillway rehabilitation project at the village's water plant in Darien, but "ice is a problem now."

The board also:

Reduced the quarterly garbage rate to $36, effective March 1.

Discussed the soccer field sewer line project. A water district will have to be formed, according to Village Attorney Daniel D. Shonn.

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