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Neighbors join to complain of traffic woes on their street in North Tonawanda

NORTH TONAWANDA – A number of angry and, in some cases, scared residents of South Meadow Drive took their case to the Common Council on Tuesday complaining of loud trucks, a possible illegal repair shop and speeding.

Most of the residents said their concerns centered on one resident in the 200 block of South Meadow Drive who appears to be repairing pickup trucks and racing them down the street.

“It used to be a quiet, safe street, a nice place to live. Now it’s very scary. I’m afraid they will throw a match or a brick through my window, so I haven’t confronted them,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified publicly.

Don Koenig, 84, who appeared before the Council with his son Mike, said at his age with the medical issues he faces all he can do is sit on the porch. But he is unable to do so because of the black smoke and noise from the trucks.

The traffic safety committee was asked by neighbors to put up 30 mph signs due to excessive speeding, but a report to the Council indicated that the North Tonawanda Police Department watched the area for a few weeks and found no excessive speeding.

Mike Koenig told the Council, “They are speeding day and night. You just haven’t caught anyone.”

Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka, who has been working with the neighbors, said he has asked the building inspector to come out and check that there is no illegal auto repair business being run on the street and encouraged people to call the police.

City Attorney Shawn Nickerson also offered to sit down with the residents to help them solve the problem.

Mayor Robert G. Ortt said that sometimes there is not an easy solution to neighbor problems.

“We hear you, unfortunately I deal with these neighbor issues all over the city. I wish I didn’t have to, but I do,” he said.

In other matters, the Council approved an agreement with Niagara County to lease space at the North Tonawanda Fire Headquarters at 495 Zimmerman Street to be used as a backup emergency dispatch center for the entire county. The 25-year lease allows the County of Niagara to construct and then use 675 square feet of the fire hall’s basement for a fee of $1. The work will be done at no expense to the City of North Tonawanda. The agreement will automatically renew for 10 years as long as both parties agree it is in both their interests.

The Council also approved a $368,150 change order for the Frederick B. Durkee Rehabilitation Project, raising the total from $1.7 million to $2.1 million.

City Engineer Dale W. Marshall, who met with the Council last week, said the project is funded 80 percent by a U.S. Transportation Initiative Program grant and was able to receive additional funding due to the increases. He said the city should remain on budget for its share, despite the overruns. New York State also provided a portion of the matching funding.

He said the cost overruns were a result of the extensive concrete damage to the bridge.