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Board revisits fundraising near Artpark

The Village Board thought it had resolved the issue of collecting on the street during Artpark's popular Tuesday in the Park concert night, but had to revisit the matter again on Monday.

Volunteer firefighters were told they were not allowed to collect for boot drives on Tuesdays. Village officials want only one group to collect on concert night this summer and volunteers collecting for the Community Missions and Heart Love and Soul -- two Niagara Falls soup kitchens -- already have been given the green light.

Last Tuesday, the Lewiston Volunteer No. 1 Fire Department was out collecting without permission. Fire company president Les Myers told board members Monday night he was under the impression that firefighters had been given approval for their boot drive.

He said the department was trying to raise money for a new ambulance.

Myers told The Buffalo News that the department was trying to raise $150,000 to replace one of its two ambulances. He said the one they'd like to replace is 14 years old.

"We try to replace an ambulance every five years, but that has not been financially possible. If this pushes our plan back farther, then we'll have to wait longer," Myers said.

Claudia Marasco, who collects for Community Missions, told the board that the boot drives meant that they only collected $73 for the soup kitchens because people would tell them they already gave.

Board members all agreed that they need to spend some time over the winter looking at fundraising in the village.

"Bear in mind that the fire company is collecting for the village residents," said firefighter volunteer Jim Franey.

The board approved, by a 4-1 vote, to allow Lewiston No. 1 to collect on Wednesday nights, when Artpark also has concerts, as well as selected Friday nights and during an Artpark children's concert. Opposing the collecting was Trustee Ronald Craft, who said he supported the firefighters, but has opposed any collecting on the streets.

Firefighters said they were unsure they would be able to collect the same amount of money on Wednesdays as the more popular Tuesday in the Park nights.


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