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Environmental initiatives planned in North Tonawanda

NORTH TONAWANDA – In recognition of Earth Day on Tuesday, North Tonawanda officials announced several initiatives taking place Friday and Saturday that are designed to clean up the city and benefit the environment.

Saturday, the ninth annual Canal Clean Sweep will take place in communities along the 524-mile canal system in conjunction with the New York State Canal Corp. and Parks and Trails New York. North Tonawanda will once again join as a partner.

The Mayor’s Office and Waterfront Commission are seeking volunteer groups and individuals to meet at 9 a.m. Saturday at the large pavilion in Mayor’s Park on Sweeney Street to be part of the cleanup efforts.

“This is a great way for our community to come together and spruce up the area and feel good about your efforts after a job well done,” said Ed Smolinski, Waterfront Commission chairman.

The city also will hold a special waste drop-off day for the community from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Department of Public Works facility, 758 Erie Ave.

Hazardous waste items and electronics such as computers, televisions, phones, speakers and monitors will be collected.

Residents who wish to participate in the waste drop-off must schedule an appointment at or call Niagara County at 439-7250. The joint county-municipal event is sponsored by State Sen. George Maziarz, the Mayor’s Office and the Niagara County Refuse Disposal District.

Friday, the city will celebrate Arbor Day at 10 a.m. in Brauer Park on Payne Avenue, where a new tree has been planted by the city’s Department of Youth and Recreation. The event also will recognize the city’s designation by the Arbor Day Foundation as a “Tree City USA” due to its commitment to effective urban forest management. The program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

Patrick Marren, senior forester with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will be attending the celebration to present the city its Tree City USA flag and designation certificate.

The city also has released numbers showing an increase in the amount that city residents are recycling. Mayor Robert G. Ortt credits the improvement to recent changes to the recycling program, which include new 35-gallon recycling totes and moving to a single-sort process.

Recycling for 11,000 homes has increased 1.8 percent, from 1,781 tons collected in 2012 to 1,813 tons collected in 2013. An additional 600 35-gallon totes will be distributed in the last week of April.

“I am happy to see that residents have continued to increase their recycling efforts, even during one of the worst winters we’ve had in decades,” said Brad Rowles, superintendent of public works.