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Letter: Greenway funds being used inappropriately

Greenway funds being used inappropriately

The recent News article addressing the use of New York Power Authority relicensing settlement funds for a high school athletic field should serve as a call for action to correct this inappropriate use of these once-in-a-lifetime funds.

No one can blame the standing committee for taking advantage of the flawed process for approving funds, but funding expressly set aside to advance recreational and waterfront public access, as well as defined economic initiatives in proximity to the Niagara River and some of its tributaries, was the sole reason for the legislatively created Niagara Greenway Commission – not backfilling municipal and school budgets.

This commission determines proposal consistency with Greenway guidelines but – tragically for those who would like our river shores to more closely resemble our Canadian neighbors – the Greenway commissioners’ determinations can be disregarded by the standing committees.

The previous 50-year license for the Niagara Power Project and for the Schoellkopf power plant prior to that saw the Niagara River shores dominated by industries that came here for cheap power, and most needed water in their processes as well.

The relicensing settlement funds – now in their seventh year of a 50-year funding flow – were supposed to provide greater public access to the Niagara River while respecting existing and newer greener economic development.

I have high schoolers and truly value all they get from my hefty school tax tab, including athletics. But the settlement funds dedicated from relicensing must go to a greater intended good. There is still time to get this right.

Phil Wilcox