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Common Council approves additional sidewalk reconstruction projects

The sidewalk reconstruction work that began on Moselle Street following the death of infant Nyree Greene is continuing on Bissell, then Goodyear and Nevada avenues, city officials said Tuesday.

Additional work then will be done going east on parts of Montana and Colorado avenues as well as Leslie, Kilhoffer, Zenner and Wende streets, said Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak.

The focus of the work, Stepniak said, will be on sidewalks in front of vacant lots where sidewalks were damaged when houses were demolished in years past.

The work was approved Tuesday by the Council, and will be funded initially with a $900,000 grant the city recently received for road and sidewalk projects. The city also recently obtained another $1.5 million in state funds that Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, D-Buffalo, wants earmarked for sidewalks.

The focus on sidewalks on the East Side comes in response to a June 19 accident when two women walking a baby in a stroller were struck by a car on Moselle Street. The women were injured and the baby, Nyree, seven months old, was killed.

The baby’s mother said she was walking in the street because of the terrible condition of some of the sidewalks on Moselle and nearby streets.

The city last week began replacing the sidewalks on Moselle and Mayor Byron W. Brown at the time said additional sidewalks also would be repaired.

A small group of residents came to the Council meeting Tuesday and blasted Fillmore Councilmember David A. Franczyk for not working harder over the years to get more sidewalks in his district repaired.

Franczyk said he’s aware of the problem of sidewalks being destroyed in past years by demolition companies hired by the city to tear down houses. He said he has worked with the Brown administration to get sidewalks repaired, but the need is great, and all the sidewalks can’t be replaced at once.

Stepniak said he walked the Moselle Street neighborhood last weekend, and will be back in the area with some of his crew in coming days to develop a larger sidewalk plan.

The city currently spends about $5 million on sidewalk repair and replacement citywide each year, with additional funds spent in lower-income neighborhoods with federal anti-poverty money.

The city last year repaved Moselle Street and installed handicapped-accessible curbs. The city had hoped to next also replace sidewalks, but did not because the street did not quality for anti-poverty funds, apparently because it didn’t meet a federal requirement that more than 50 percent of properties on a street be residential and occupied.


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