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RENAMING OF CITY STREET RECONSIDERED

The City Council Monday changed its plan to rename East Market Street "Via Tommy Tedesco" after business owners on the street complained of the expense and inconvenience of having to make the address change on all of their paperwork and notify all of the people they do business with.

Instead, the Council came up with an alternative plan, which was supported by most of those who spoke, to memorialize the Niagara Falls native who made it big in the recording industry by naming the main entrance to the City Market for him. The Council will look into the new plan and reintroduce it in a couple of weeks, Council Chairman Anthony F. Quaranto said.

Anthony J. Rendina, acting director of the Pine Avenue Business Association, and Victor Muto, part-owner of New York Fish Market, spoke in favor of finding another way to honor Tedesco's memory. Muto said he was speaking for the other four businesses on East Market Street.

Other suggestions were to rename the entrance to the market from 19th Street or the 15th Street entrance to Columbus Park where summer concerts and the Italian Festival are held each year. But the main entrance to the market, which has no name and where no businesses are located, seemed the most favored.

Tedesco, who earned the title "The Most Recorded Guitarist" in the music business for his work in recording, television and the movies, died in 1997 in California, where he had been a leading session guitarist for 35 years.

Local musician and long-time friend Albert Giambattista said that once the street name has been approved, local musicians with whom Tedesco played plan a musical tribute in his memory.

In another matter, the Council hired Michael P. Kirwan of Municipal Insurance Consultants for $3,500 to review the city's options on workers' compensation insurance. Like many communities in the county, the city is considering leaving the Niagara County Workers' Compensation plan due to skyrocketing costs.

Kirwan runs seven different self-insurance programs, including Erie 1 and 2 Board of Cooperative Educational Services. He is representing North Tonawanda in its efforts to leave the county pool. Corporation Counsel Ronald D. Anton said Kirwan approached the city about problems with the county pool.

Kirwan said the city has a number of options to consider. Councilmen John G. Accardo and Joseph R. D'Angelo voted against the contract. Accardo said the city's insurance carrier should be doing the analysis as a service. He said he was concerned that Kirwan might lean toward self-insurance.

"I'd be strongly against that. We're in a self-insured medical plan now, and we're getting killed. It's a time bomb," Accardo said.

In other business, the Council:

Heard an appeal from John Mikula of LaSalle not to abandon the southern portion of 86th Street. He said the 66-foot-wide right of way should become a pocket park because it is one of only two or three properties owned by the city where the Niagara River may be viewed. The Council set a public hearing on the abandonment for 7 p.m. Feb. 20.

Agreed to hire engineering consultants Olson & Terzian for $9,600 to prepare an estimate of downtown capital projects in order to apply for state and federal aid.

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