Tonawanda News

November 16, 2013

Funding sought for historical signs

Historical Society seeking funding for signs in Twin Cities

By Michael Regan
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A grant application that will be submitted to the Niagara River Greenway Commission to expand historical signage throughout the Twin Cities was approved this week by the North Tonawanda Common Council. 

Ned Schimminger, of the Historical Society of the Tonawandas, said his organization will seek to obtain $63,000 for 22 signs that would be placed along River Road and Sweeney Street in the Lumber City and expand down Niagara Street in the City of Tonawanda to Two Mile Creek Road. 

The project mirrors similar signage positioned in Long Homestead more than a decade ago. 

Schimminger said the idea to expand the signage and apply for the grant stemmed from a conversation he had with Tonawanda Mayor Ron Pilozzi over the summer about the 10 interpretive signs already situated along the Erie Canal. 

"As soon as we started talking about it, we were like, 'why should we stop?'" he said. "North Tonawanda is happy to have us do this too." 

The signage would capture the areas' ties to the railroad and lumber industries and lay out biographical information on historic figures, with relevant information and images posted in both cities along a 9-mile stretch. 

The format for the signage would follow those already in place in Tonawanda with dimensions of 2-by-3 feet and with slight changes to color schemes. Schimminger said he will send out the application next week to the commission and give a presentation to the group in January. 

If successful, the funding would lead to the addition of 12 signs in North Tonawanda placed along a bicycle path on River Road as far north as Gratwick-Riverside Park, as well as two signs at Veterans Park and three at Gateway Harbor. More would extend up Sweeney Street to the Botanical Gardens. 

Tonawanda would add eight to its portfolio, weaving down the Niagara River through Niawanda Park, ending at Two Mile Creek Road. 

"We don't want people to think they'll be all bunched together," he said. 

Schimminger said if his application proves to be successful, "down the road" he would like to add similar signs at Isle View Park in the Town of Tonawanda.