Tonawanda News


June 14, 2013

ADAMCZYK: Spurring the project along

Tonawanda News — At a recent local presentation, an historian pondered Western New York’s proclivity toward mouthing off, then doing nothing, as exhibited in announcing plans for a structure or a project, coming up with an “artist’s representation” and having the plans fade into the netherworld of unfulfilled dreams.

Yeah, the historian in question was me, and the lecture came after a few weeks of research into things that were never there, things conceived but never delivered. That’s our self-inflicted reputation, out here.

A convention center was planned for Buffalo as far back as 1922. Broad concourses, á la Paris, were on the drawing board as well. The infamous Love Canal (the actual canal, that is) was meant to draw Niagara Falls water to power a Niagara County community of millions in a place called Model City. An amusement park, in the style of Crystal Beach, Ontario, was to be constructed behind Buffalo’s City Hall. A half-dozen suburbs were in line for the football stadium which was eventually built in Orchard Park. (You should see the stadium plans of that of Amherst; it came with an attached baseball stadium.)

The crackpottery of it all is breathtaking, if looked at as one failure after another. Cincinnati and Chicago and Denver likely have similar tales to tell, but ours are the ones that stick out like thorns penetrating flesh. 

The experience leads me to appreciate the value of “planning committees,” those bureaucratic working groups charged with separating the do-it from the screw-it. Turning a swamp into a marina, for example, is no place for a lone wolf with more dreams than investors.

The writer Garrison Keillor once explained it well. Those declines in the sidewalk at street corners, meant for easy access for those in wheelchairs, are a good idea, fair, egalitarian and easy to install, so the next time a municipality fixes its sidewalks it puts in concrete appropriate to the mission. It comes, though, after innumerable hours of discussion by people in groups, seeking an economical solution to the issue.

Text Only
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo