LEWISTON – Center Street is the main thoroughfare for every festival and event in the Village of Lewiston, and members of the Center Street Advisory Committee told the Village Board on Monday night that it’s looking neglected.
“Once the summer gets started, we only have a little while to get going,” said Ronald R. Craft, a business owner who is a member of the committee.
“The streetscape was done 15 years ago, and over time, things have deteriorated,” said Richard J. Haight, chairman of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
Emery J. Simon, who owns the Stone House Wine Bar on Center Street and the Lewiston Event Center on Cayuga Street, brought in a dirty lens from lampposts and said he is willing to get started cleaning them.
Marianne L. Gitterman, co-chairwoman of the Beautification on Center Street Committee, said the work to spruce up the area is getting started today, with planters filled with flowers that will be hung up and down the street.
Gitterman said they had held off until now because they could not afford to lose the flowers to a frost.
She listed other projects that will be undertaken by the Beautification Committee.
The lampposts are being repaired by the Department of Public Works, and the cedar and teak benches, flower boxes and trash receptacles are being considered by the Boy Scouts as part of an Eagle project, Gitterman added.
Also, trash receptacles are being repainted by beautification volunteers, and a local landscaper is working on the Tuscarora Monument, a project being paid for by the Historical Association of Lewiston.
Bushes will be removed and landscaping will be done up and down Center Street at a cost of $9,000 to $10,000, which will be paid for by the Lewiston Garden Club.
Gitterman encouraged local businesses to get involved and adopt an area, and she said the Beautification Committee will help them as much as they can.
“I’m glad everyone is concerned. I think working together is what makes Lewiston a better place,” she said.
Mayor Terry C. Collesano, who owns a barbershop on Center Street, said he has made improvements in front of his shop and would like other businesses to at the least put in a few flowers and keep the areas neat. “It’s nice to see the businesspeople get involved,” he said.
In another matter, Collesano thanked both the police and residents for actions following a standoff on West Lane on Sunday. Leonard A. Zientara, 51, held police at bay for more than 12 hours and set fire to his house before he was taken into custody and charged with arson. Residents in the area were evacuated or asked to remain indoors.
“I just want to congratulate (the Lewiston police) and all the professional police officers who were involved yesterday, as well as the volunteer fire companies. It was scary, to say the least,” Collesano said. “Thankfully, it was resolved peacefully, and no one was injured, and it was thanks to our local police.”
Police Chief Christopher M. Salada said it was a well-coordinated joint effort of local and State Police, the Sheriff’s Office and the Fire Department.
“I’d like to thank the residents. They were put out for hours, but they came through and cooperated,” he said.
The Village Board also approved a plan for 417 Center Street to build two apartments above the Village Bake Shoppe.
Another project, which will transform the former Fairchild Manor Nursing Home on Fairchild Place into a 30-unit apartment building, will be discussed by the county Industrial Development Agency at a public hearing at 3:45 p.m. May 28 in Village Hall.