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BUSINESSES ASK TOWN'S HELP IN CLEARING SNOW

Business operators in Snyder want the Town of Amherst to help clear sidewalks following heavy snows.

According to Thomas A. Loughran, president of the Friends of Amherst business association, November's heavy snows proved too much for many shopkeepers.

The 180-member business group wants town officials to send in heavy equipment to help remove and dispose of snow when it piles up and endangers pedestrians.

"Business owners . . . worked hard this winter to keep the sidewalks clear of snow," Loughran wrote in a letter to town officials. But, he added: "The November 2000 snowstorm created accumulations of snow greater than the ability of business owners to clear . . . sidewalks."

Loughran said officials should consider sending high-lifts or other equipment to help remove snowbanks so that motorists can see where they're going and pedestrians can walk safely on sidewalks.

Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick says the idea is worth considering.

"We should look into it," she said. "We'll have the (highway) superintendent give his ideas about the disposal and the cost of it."

Grelick also said there may be grants available for equipment that could be used to remove snow from sidewalks.

Amherst has long had an ordinance on the books requiring property owners to clear their sidewalks of snow. But the town didn't enforce that ordinance until four teenagers walking on Niagara Falls Boulevard on Jan. 14 were struck by a car that skidded out of control.

Three of the teenagers died. Amherst police said the youths were walking in the street because sidewalks on both the Amherst and Town of Tonawanda sides of Niagara Falls Boulevard were too packed with snow to walk on.

Under the stricter enforcement plan Amherst announced, property owners who do not clear their walks are subject to a maximum $250 fine and 15 days in jail for repeat offenders.

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