By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — The City of Tonawanda council discussed renaming the new commerce park at the former Spaulding Fibre site Tuesday in an effort to eliminate the negative stigma after the company abandoned the site in environmental ruin in 1992.
“I totally agree we should change the name,” Council President Carleton Zeisz said. “I felt that way from the beginning.”
Council members discussed the proposed name of Tonawanda Commerce Park, but Zeisz said he believes the naming process should be open to residential feedback.
“I think we should do a contest, or something ... and be more original than the Tonawanda Commerce Park,” Zeisz said.
Some also raised concerns that it may be confused with one of the town’s parks, which is named the Tonawanda Commerce Center.
But City Engineer Jason LaMonaco said he and his Department of Environmental Conservation contacts believe that the park should retain the Spaulding name.
“We think it should be Spaulding, because of the identifiability, and instead of looking back ... we can look forward,” LaMonaco said. “Fifteen years from now, people are going to think of Spaulding Lake, and not Spaulding Fibre.”
Zeisz proposed that the Spaulding Park committee consider other names or sponsor a contest. No decision was made, but LaMonaco said the name must be final by the spring, so that the contractor can install the park’s sign.
Council members also discussed the request to replace a traffic light near St. Francis school. After looking into the cost, Zeisz said the estimated price of the replacement would be in excess of $20,000.
Zeisz said he was concerned about funding the replacement, as there are many other city lights in disrepair and the St. Francis light has been broken for years. Others, however, disagreed.
“It only takes one car to kill some kid crossing the street and then the $20,000 is very minor at that point,” Councilman Richard Slisz said. “It just takes one accident.”
Council members also discussed the possibility of moving the light from Main Street near Clint Small Stadium to St. Francis.
During the council’s public session, Robin McGowan, of Morgan Street, asked the council to stop ongoing, boisterous activity at the basketball court near her house.
McGowan, who has appeared at council meetings before to discuss the problem, said older teens are playing basketball in the middle of the night, and are drinking, smoking and dealing drugs on the court.
“When I have asked them to quiet down, they are nasty,” she said.
McGowan suggested moving the court away from the residential area. Slisz seemed to agree.
“It’s a children’s park, and if it really is, it should be closed at dusk,” Slisz said. “Maybe we could look at moving it.”
Police have been called to the park, but have not fully remedied the problem.
Gayle Syposs also spoke about the issue Tuesday.
“Don’t take the basketball hoops away because there are some older kids who are abusing it at night,” she said. “It’s not fair to the young ones.”
Also at the city meeting:
• The council approved a resolution to allow Mayor Ron Pilozzi to execute an agreement with Revise, LLC, regarding a new website for the City of Tonawanda. The startup cost will be $7,515.
• The council approved a resolution to award the bid for the East Niagara Pedestrian bridge repair to BVR Construction at a cost not to exceed $310,000.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150