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Village keeps an eye on food businesses

Getting food service establishments to install grease traps during the past few years was called "a big step" by the Village Board this week, but keeping all of them up to code may be another challenge.

Public Works Superintendent Bryan S. Meigs said that during the recent heavy rains, the village has been doing well as far as keeping the inflow of water out of the sewer lines, but problems with grease plugging the walls of the lines remains.

"Most of the grease comes from restaurants," Mayor William E. Geiben said.

Village Engineer Richard SanGiacomo, who dealt with nearly 50 food service businesses in 2008 that were affected by the local law requiring grease traps, said about half a dozen businesses remained delinquent on getting up to code last year.

"If it is not corrected," Village Attorney Paul A. Grenga said, "[these businesses] will have to be referred to the Niagara County Health Department."

"They need to keep a record of what's being cleaned, and we have a right to see that and renew their permit," SanGiacomo said.

Trustee Ronald R. Craft noted it wasn't fair to ignore violators, considering the money those in compliance have spent.

The board also discussed plans for a shuttle between Niagara Falls, the village and Old Fort Niagara.

Niagara County Legislator John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, said plans for the shuttle bus service are still in the negotiation stage and that an eight-week trial run is planned from July 4 to Labor Day. He said the shuttle would be free and organizers are looking at grants, private enterprise and "wrap advertising" to fund $20,000 needed for the service.

David Lacki, director of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, has offered to provide marketing, and Old Fort Niagara Director Robert Emerson has offered one of his costumed guides, Ceretto said.

"Hopefully, by providing a shuttle, people will stay in the area a day longer," Geiben said.
The board also applied for a $54,000 Niagara River Greenway grant for additional funding to restore the Piper Law office.

In 2006, the village secured a state Department of Transportation grant of nearly $200,000 to restore and move the historic law office, one the village's original buildings. In November, it was moved across Center Street.

If the Greenway grant is approved, the funds would be used to refurbish the building, and improve the electrical system, landscaping and washrooms.

The grant would allow the work to be completed more quickly, the mayor said.

Volunteers also are being sought to help, and some roof and chimney work have begun.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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