Tonawanda News — “The taxpayers of this city can know that we will continue to look at all of these options and others to make sure we continue operating your government in a smart and efficient manner,” he said.
On the development front, Ortt said the city would use a template that allowed the slow resurgence of Webster Street to launch the turnaround of another main thoroughfare, Oliver Street, which has seen a surge in crime and the flight of business during the last several decades.
But with $200,000 in state funding acquired in December for facade and interior work on buildings and businesses, which Ortt said would take place between Wheatfield and Schenck streets, the city will build on recent momentum in the Buffalo Business Park and a smattering of local businesses that have remained.
“I am hopeful that we can use it to a similar effect to begin to bring back Oliver Street and make it more welcoming and business-friendly,” he said.
Ortt said by the spring, the Meadow Drive expansion project would be complete, opening an avenue between the city’s central business district on Payne Avenue and Niagara Falls Boulevard. The $2.3 million renovation of Durkee Bridge, the only connector to Tonawanda Island, would also be wrapped up at that time.
Ortt rounded out his 25-minute address announcing the start of a volunteer program March 1 to assist North Tonawanda veterans, called “Veterans Helping Veterans.” The venture will use a range of organizations and a support network to help veterans with transportation, paperwork “or just talking over a cup of coffee,” said Ortt, who served in Afghanistan.
“The idea of veterans helping veterans came out of the notion that veterans form a brotherhood,” he said. “Regardless of age or branch of service, sometimes it takes a brother or sister who has worn a uniform to understand what we are going through.”