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PAVING NEEDS GIVEN PRIORITY FOR GRANTS

The West Seneca Town Board has decided to go after paved projects rather than a youth center as it pursues this year's community development block grants.

The town is seeking $90,000 grants to do work on Kirkwood Drive, Delray Avenue and Henrietta Avenue and for a "latchkey project" to help the West Seneca Youth Bureau deliver remedial math, language arts and other assistance to low- and moderate-income children in the area of Seneca Street and Harlem Road.

While the board showed interest in a Youth Bureau proposal to create a youth center when it met earlier this month, the project was not on the list of grant applications approved for submission Monday night.

"We want to give it a chance, but there's so little money for basic core infrastructure and hard construction available," said Town Supervisor Paul T. Clark.

"We just decided we have to keep going in our city line area, strengthening those areas with nice, fresh construction. Sidewalks and curbs add an awful lot to property values and the morale of the community.

"I think there are a lot of sources Mark can explore for grant fund for the after-school project. But we just felt we needed to do these streets," he said, referring to Youth Bureau Director Mark Lazzara.

"When it comes down to reconstruction of infrastructure, there's really nothing out there for funding," said Councilman Christopher Osmanski. "It's usually totally borne by the taxpayer, and community development is the one way you can go into a part of town with declining values, put money into infrastructure and to stabilize it. It's our one chance to make a good solid investment there."

The board has also created a committee to look into revising snow-removal rules for property owners.

The Town Board has considered strengthening an ordinance to require property owners to keep their walks clear of snow, but met with fierce opposition from business owners who said the amount of snow pushed off Union Road makes that virtually impossible during heavy storms.

The committee, comprising Councilman Timothy Wroblewski, businessmen Bill Graser and Charles Curtin Jr., community activist Jeannette Pettibone and one member yet to be named, is expected to report on the options within about a month.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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