Tonawanda News — For months, two liens judgement creditors had held against a tiny parcel along a planned Meadow Drive extension were all that stood against the launch of the project.
But on Wednesday, after years of discussion, North Tonawanda City Attorney Shawn Nickerson said he was finally able to put the issue to rest, when he was able to procure a release from the liens, filed in 2004 and 2005 by the creditors, who are based out of New York City and Buffalo.
The issue will be brought to the common council next week when members will vote to authorize Mayor Rob Ortt “to certify for the DOT that we own everything,” Nickerson said.
Work on the long-awaited project has faced many hurdles, including an easement agreement with CSX rail company that took much of last summer and fall to negotiate, and a redesignating a portion of the site that the state Department of Environmental Conservation had identified as protected wetlands.
The latest challenge also was held in bureaucratic limbo for years. The property released this week is owned by three local doctors, one of whom owed creditors more than $130,000. Yet the property will be sold to the city for only $3,000 — one of the factors used in obtaining the release, Nickerson said.
“There’s a much larger parcel that these people own, this is just a little sliver of it,” Nickerson said. “Once I made that clear to them it was a little easier decision.”
City leaders say an extension of Meadow Drive is necessary and will ease traffic congestion along Erie Avenue, which has multiplied with the advent of a growing commercial corridor, including the addition of nearby Walmart last summer.
The project was scaled back last year when City Engineer Dale Marshall decreased the width of the future road extension from 40 feet to 30, shaving some of the cost. While 80 percent of the $2 million extension is covered by federal funds, an amended blueprint was necessary to get shovels in the ground. The city will still responsible for a $400,000 contribution.
The city will extend Meadow Drive by six-tenths of a mile to Erie Avenue. Marshall will likely put the project out for bid in May. Work could begin as soon as June.Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.