Tonawanda News

June 26, 2013


By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — More than 100 locals were welcomed into the City of Tonawanda’s newly completed $1.25 million Niawanda Park Pavilion Tuesday as part of the structure’s open house event.

The celebration came more than a year after construction began at the site in December 2011. Although the project did take longer than expected, the majority of construction came at no cost to the city, as Tonawanda received an $877,000 grant from the Niagara River Greenway Commission.

“This is by far the best view in Western New York,” Rob Belue, executive director of the Greenway Commission said Tuesday after the ribbon cutting. “And not only is this a great view, it provides for economic growth. The contractors hired were local folks, and that is part of the commission’s mission statement.” 

The structure was completed in November. Amenities include a fully equipped industrial kitchen, including a stove with six burners, an oven, a double refrigerator, a freezer a microwave and large sink basins. The pavilion also has five 15-foot round tables that can accommodate up to eight people each, as well as eight long rectangular banquet tables. The building can hold up to 130 guests. 

Residents who attended Tuesday night’s event were able to sample food from the pavilion’s preferred catering list, which includes Tonawanda Castle, The Grapevine, Mr. and Mrs. Catering Service, Smoke on the Water, Torches, T.C. Wheelers, Lebro's and Pane's Restaurant.

The city began renting the structure out this spring. So far, the city has taken in $17,300 from the rentals, Mayor Ron Pilozzi said Tuesday. 

“Weekends are booked for much of the rest of the year,” Pilozzi said.

After the city’s operating costs and debt for the project is paid off, revenue from the structure will be put into an enterprise fund and will finance improvements at all the city’s parks.

“We are looking to see a full year’s worth of experience to make sure we are charging enough and have enough coming in to not only pay off the debt service, but also pay for maintenance of the structure and the utilities,” Pilozzi said. 

During his ribbon cutting speech, Pilozzi also responded to the many residents who have criticized the project for taking too long and costing too much.

“Some people have called it Pilozzi’s playhouse,” he said. “But it should be Pilozzi’s promise ... I made a promise and a commitment to this community and these residents when I campaigned. I’m really, really happy with the outcome and it is looking great.” 

Pilozzi said the city still needs to finish landscaping improvements around the structure. The remaining work will be done in stages, he said. Pilozzi also pointed to a number of other Greenway-funded projects, including the shoreline stabilization project and the city’s new kayak launch in Eastern Park.

“Everything we have done has improved the waterfront,” Pilozzi said.  

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter at @JessicaLBagley



RENTAL FEES The cost to rent the newly minted Niawanda Park Pavilion are as follows: • $150 for city residents Mondays through Thursdays • $300 for city residents Fridays through Sundays • $200 for non-city residents Mondays through Thursdays • $350 for non-city residents Fridays through Sundays


Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter at @JessicaLBagley