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Park improvements, funded by Buffalo Billion II, completed in North Tonawanda

State and city officials cut a ribbon Wednesday to mark the completion of state-funded improvements in North Tonawanda's Gateway Harbor Park, on the banks of the Erie Canal at Webster and Sweeney streets.

The city used $2.5 million in "smart growth" funds from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Buffalo Billion II initiative, and $800,000 from other state programs, to construct a new harbor master facility, extended dockage with upgraded utility hookups, improved lighting and picnic facilities.

"Gateway Harbor and the Erie Canal have been the driving force for the growth and development of Webster Street and downtown North Tonawanda," Mayor Arthur G. Pappas said.

"The Smart Growth Community Fund uses targeted, strategic investments to deliver on improvements for neighborhoods throughout Western New York," Cuomo said in a statement. "This investment will give the community a park with modern, accessible facilities and more attractive features, which will help bolster tourism for North Tonawanda and the region as a whole."

The city also leveraged the money to improve the appearance of streets and pocket parks; place four improved pedestrian crossings on River Road; install signs and visual improvements at downtown entry points; and help with the renovation of the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier on Tremont Street.

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