Tonawanda News — Zehr said the Republicans have captured minor party lines through “political maneuvering” to capture the majority of votes in a city that has more registered Democrats than Republicans.
While Zehr said more focus should be put on Oliver Street, Ortt said the city has applied for state grants for facade work that could lift the disheveled street out of years of dysfunction, much like a similar project on Webster Street once had.
Zehr said the city should “get beyond Webster” and turn its focus to other areas of the city, including the avenues.
“Oliver needs to be more business friendly,” she said.
Ortt, again refuted Zehr’s stance, stating that the city has a master plan in place for Tonawanda Island, “a prime piece of real estate” and that the city is continuing to focus on economic development projects throughout the city.
“Progress not promises,” he said. “That’s what you’ve seen over the last four years.”
Democrat David Kelly, a physical education teacher in Buffalo who is running for public office for the first time, and incumbent Russ Rizzo, an Independent who caucuses with Republicans and who has held various positions in city and county governance over the last 20-plus years, agreed that recent development at Gratwick-Riverside Park were moving the city forward, but differed on the influence of work conducted along Witmer Road to alleviate flooding issues.
Kelly said he has seen the problems in and around residential areas persist, including “tic and water problems still there.”
“I have a good friend living on the road,” Kelly said. “I will put pressure on people.”
Rizzo flatly disputed the claim, noting that the council has worked for years with state and county officials to bring in funding for flooding caused by the installation of a now-defunct county dump years ago.