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Consultant hired to plan greenway

The Niagara River Greenway Commission approved its contract Tuesday afternoon with its consultant, directing its chairman to consummate the agreement with Wendel Duscherer to develop a plan.

Wendel Duscherer and several subcontractors are charged with collecting public suggestions and incorporating them in a plan for the Niagara River Greenway, a system of parks and related developments along the river. The plan, due by next March, will set the greenway's boundaries and establish guidelines for appropriate projects.

The greenway will be funded in part by $9 million a year from the State Power Authority, provided under its agreement for relicensing the Niagara Power Project.

Before the commission vote, board members focused on specifics that they wanted in the contract's fine print.

Mark Mistretta, Wendel Duscherer's Niagara Greenway project director, assured commissioners that waterfront plans and other reports already done by communities along the waterfront would be taken into consideration.

"We plan on taking advantage of all the work that's been done to date," he said.

Mistretta also assured the board that the consulting firm HOK, a subcontractor nationally known for shaping greenway designs, would participate in planning workshops.

"That's exactly why we brought them in," Mistretta said.

Paul Leuchner, a commission member, stressed that the greenway should be first and foremost an environmental project. "We should not be destroying that environment to gain access or use of it," he said.

The commission met in Beaver Island State Park on Grand island.

In other business:

* The commission approved applying to the state Department of State for $150,000 to help fund the greenway organization's initial costs. If the application is approved, the Town of Tonawanda officially will administrator of the funds, Tonawanda Supervisor Ronald H. Moline said.

* Leuchner announced a communitywide contest to design the logo for the Niagara River Greenway. The three best entries will be presented to the commission, which will make the final selection.


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