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OFFICIALS TO TACKLE CROWDS AND DRINKING AT POPULAR BAR STRIP

Village and college officials soon will huddle to decide how to cope with a crowd problem and underage drinking on the Water Street bar strip.

During a workshop meeting of the board Monday night, Police Chief Daniel Johnson shed light on a crowd-control problem that occurred at about 2 a.m. Sunday when 12 police cars from state, Fredonia and Dunkirk police forces as well as the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department converged on Water Street. Two persons were arrested, Johnson said.

The two-block area of Water Street features eight bars.

"We were interested in crowd control," Johnson explained.

Mayor Frank Pagano estimated that "a couple of thousand people" were in the area when the bars closed at 2 a.m.

"The problem is that (under state law) a 16-year-old can enter a bar, an 18-year-old can serve alcohol, but you need to be 21 to drink," Pagano said.

"Only 12 percent of (Fredonia State College) students are old enough to drink," he said. "We also have people coming in from Dunkirk, Jamestown and Erie, Pa."

Trustees EvaDawn Bashaw and Steven Cobb noted that a pizza restaurant that does mainly a takeout business and an outdoor hot-dog stand add to the congestion and litter along Water Street.

Pagano said that if the college and village officials agree, a task force including bar owners will be formed to make recommendations to the Village Board.

In other business, the board decided to discuss ways to preserve Barker Common lawn during the annual Farm Festival.

Tents, stands and people compact the grass, and the village has to repair the damage each year. The festival is held on the fourth weekend of August.

The village has received a $30,000 grant to beautify Barker Common, which includes new sod and grass. The village must match that amount.

Trustee Susanne Marsh suggested that the food vendors use the sidewalks around Barker Common but that the crafters' tents remain on the lawn. She plans to meet with the Farm Festival committee.

The board also:

Rescinded a $27,168 contract with Georgian Bay Contracting Inc. of Amherst to repair the roof of the fire hall because the business could not give the village a 20-year guarantee on the work.

Then, the board awarded the contract to A.W. Farrell & Son of Dunkirk for $40,000. About $26,000 will be taken from the fund balance to add to the $14,000 in the capital projects account to pay for the work.

Approved seeking a state grant for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.

Approved a resolution asking Congress to put $350 million in the federal budget for the Local Watershed Conservation Fund. The funds are used to preserve open land.

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