We may hear and read about local governments not being responsive to their respective constituencies. Many times these cries are justified. But all is not bleak.
Recently The Buffalo News featured an article about the Town of Tonawanda, “Rethinking Sheridan Drive: Bike lanes, signals and roundabouts.” The title encapsulates the gist of the piece. This “wish list” is indicative of many of the town’s progressive and proactive stances.
The town has been a partner with other local groups and governments to protect and enhance the lives of the people in Tonawanda and the surrounding areas. For instance, Tonawanda Tomorrow, a community and economic planning project, is the result of the town working with such entities as the Clean Air Coalition, local labor unions, and University at Buffalo. The New York State funding to compensate for the lost revenues with the closing of the Huntley Plant was successfully implemented when these same forces worked with local officials and governments.
The Tonawanda Coke fiasco illustrated how people and multiple levels of government strive to protect the health of the three affected towns. Currently many of these same parties are working on the Huntley Plant’s brownfield cleanup proposal. If handled carefully and judiciously, the over 100-acre parcels on the Niagara River could provide land for economic development and a platform for recreational projects.
Governments at all levels must be held accountable for their actions. They deserve our thanks and support when they fulfill their relevant mandates.
Gary M. Schulenberg