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>Firms from Erie County are awarded 3 contracts

LOCKPORT -- Erie County firms have been awarded contracts for public works projects in Niagara County.

The largest contract, $957,256, went to Concrete Applied Technologies Corp. of Alden to construct a replacement bridge over the west branch of Twelve Mile Creek on Fitch Road in Wilson.

TGR Enterprises of West Seneca won a $359,713 contract to replace hundreds of windows and doors at Niagara County Community College. Tunney Electric of Clarence won an $8,490 electrical contract on that same project.

Great Lakes Building Systems of Buffalo was hired for $174,038 to install security improvements at the Public Safety Training Center in Lockport.


>Grant-writer optimistic on future improvement

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County's grant-writing consultant has not brought in enough money so far to cover the cost of her contract, but she told the County Legislature's Administration Committee on Tuesday that she is optimistic that things will improve.

Jean K. O'Connell of Clarence, whose firm, J. O'Connell & Associates, was hired last March on a two-year, $40,000 contract, said she has applied on the county's behalf for $10.87 million in state and federal funding but has received only $20,000. That was a grant from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services for a project on prevention of vehicle theft and insurance fraud.

"A year is a short time to do anything," said O'Connell, whose contract required her to apply for at least 10 grants; she applied for 17. "It's always dependent on when the state or the feds want to release the money and announce these things."

County Manager Gregory D. Lewis, who recommended O'Connell's hiring, warned her, "At the end of two years, it's got to be shown there's a positive impact on the county in terms of dollars received."


>County renews contract with D.C. lobbying firm

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County has renewed its contract with a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm to work on behalf of continued federal investment in Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

Hyjek & Fix will be paid $72,000 for the six months ending July 31, all of which will be reimbursed by the state Empire State Development Corp. under a $100,000 allocation for activity related to the air base. Hyjek & Fix was hired in 1995, when the base was first threatened with closure.

County officials credited the lobbying firm with helping the base survive the closure review process.


>Construction begins on McKee Street store

NEWFANE -- Construction has begun on a new 15,000-square-foot building on McKee Street that will house a Dollar General store.

The business will occupy 12,000 square feet of the new building, with 3,000 square feet yet to be leased, according to Newfane building inspector Douglas Nankey.

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