Tonawanda News — A $1. 8 million project that has been on the drawing board since the 1970s will begin in the coming days as North Tonawanda city officials and a contingent of federal and state politicos met Wednesday at the foot of the planned Meadow Drive extension.
After years of bureaucratic battles, officials lauded the initiative they say will serve as the city’s only true east-west corridor, connecting the growing business district along Erie Avenue to the city’s Mid-City Plaza.
The 3,300-foot extension of Meadow Drive, which now stops at a dead end near the intersection of Wayne Avenue, will run through a wooded area that is largely made up of wetlands. The project is expected to begin by the end of the week with a completion date set for early December.
Standing at the foot of the thoroughfare and surrounded by backhoes and plush trees, Mayor Rob Ortt said it was the resilience of his administration along with a team of federal and state politicians that allowed the project to come to fruition.
“This is a long overdue and much-needed extension that will not only provide short-term construction jobs but will also result in better traffic flow and connect Payne Avenue with our Mid-City business district to Erie Avenue and a budding commercial-industrial corridor,” he said.
A total of $1.4 million in federal funding was first secured in 2006 under former Rep. Tom Reynolds, now a lobbyist, who was on hand Wednesday for the groundbreaking ceremony. A state funded grant will lend another $269,900 with the city contributed $89,000 in bonded funds.
In an era when bipartisanship is at a low point, Rep. Brian Higgins, state Sen. George Maziarz and Reynolds, who all attended the press conference, emphasized the importance of the cooperation not only among Democrats and Republicans but also between local, state and federal officials.