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Ciminelli put on Greenway panel

Gov. George E. Pataki on Sunday appointed Louis P. Ciminelli, head of the Buffalo construction firm LP Ciminelli Co., to an unpaid spot on the Niagara River Greenway Commission.

It was among several last-minute appointments made by Pataki on his last day in office.

The 14-member Greenway Commission, with representatives from across the Buffalo Niagara region, was created by Pataki to draft a Niagara River Greenway Plan, envisioned by the governor's legislation as an "interconnected system of trails and parks" from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.

The Greenway Plan will guide the spending of millions of dollars from relicensing settlements made with the New York Power Authority, which is applying to operate the Niagara Power Project for another 50 years.

Ciminelli recently served as chairman of the power authority, a post he also was appointed to by Pataki.

It was not clear late Sunday which spot Ciminelli would fill on the Greenway Commission, which includes eight voting members and six ex-officio representatives. Village of Lewiston Mayor Richard F. Soluri and former Niagara Falls City Councilman Paul Dyster, both commission members, said Sunday they were unaware of any openings, or resignations, and had not heard of Ciminelli's appointment.

The group has been given a deadline of March 2007 to finish the Greenway Plan and gain unanimous approval from the 13 municipalities that border the river.

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