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2 N. Tonawanda projects endorsed for Greenway funds

The Niagara County Legislature on Tuesday endorsed two North Tonawanda projects for Niagara River Greenway funds.

North Tonawanda is seeking $300,000 from the Greenway Commission for its Gratwick-Riverside Marina project, which has a total cost of $700,000.

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum is requesting $30,000 toward a $172,340 "Kiddieland" project, adding rides for small children to its offerings. The rides would be installed in a vacant lot next to the museum.

Legislator Peter E. Smolinski, R-North Tonawanda, said money would pay for a fence.

Smolinski said the marina project "is what the Greenway was looking for when they started up: projects on the water."

Legislator Phillip R. "Russ" Rizzo, I-North Tonawanda, said the former Niagara River Yacht Club left a dormant site.

"The electrical service went bad. The docks are all bad. The [riverbed under the] water needs to be dredged," Rizzo said. "It's money well-spent from the Greenway, and it will definitely enhance the [adjoining] park."

Legislator Paul B. Wojtaszek said the Greenway money comes from the New York Power Authority. The county controls $390,000 a year.

In other matters Tuesday, the Legislature passed a resolution that it has approved in previous years, asking the State Legislature to amend the law governing the Power Authority so a Niagara County resident would always be on the authority's board of trustees.

The resolution, sponsored by Legislator Renae Kimble, D-Niagara Falls, has not moved in Albany in the past. There is currently a vacancy on the board.

"We just have a new governor in place, and he needs to know our concern," Kimble said. "We're the greatest producer of power. St. Lawrence [County] has a representative, and they're the second-largest producer."

Also, the Legislature approved the payment of $1,927 toward the continuing legal bills from the Buffalo law firm Webster Szanyi in the county's suit against the Power Authority.

The county is trying to force the authority to take back $544 million in surpluses that it gave to the state to balance its general budget two years ago. "If we had a representative, that money would not have gone downstate," Kimble said.

The county now has spent $249,470 from its Seneca Niagara Casino revenue on the lawsuit, which is currently before the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court.

Also Tuesday, the Legislature reappointed County Historian Catherine L. Emerson of Youngstown to the part-time post she has held since 2006. County Manager Jeffrey M. Glatz said her salary of $24,733 is not being increased.

The Legislature also appropriated $2,750 to pay for the second phase of an economic-impact study on the sport fishing business.

Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, said the first phase two years ago was paid for by Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp., the countywide promotion agency.

e-mail: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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