Tonawanda News — Third Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka, whose represents the area where the project will take place, said the business growth potential the road extension will create “is huge.”
“When the project is complete people can actually cut through from Walmart and eat downtown or (go) to to the waterfront in a more direct route,” he said. “I want North Tonawanda to be a destination but we can’t do that if it’s not accessible.”
He also pointed to the fact that zoning laws were changed in 2010 to halt the encroachment of industrial businesses, found along Erie Avenue, into the residential neighborhoods that surround the extension. The zoning laws were changed to light commercial use that will allow for some business development such as “shops and doctors’ offices but not tire shops and factories.”
The project was originally slated to cost upwards of $2 million, though the scope of it was scaled back when the planned extension was sized-down from 40 feet wide to 30 feet to shave costs and also make room for green infrastructure required due to the nearby wetland, according to City Engineer Dale Marshall.
City officials have gone through a trying process of of bringing the Meadow Drive extension together, navigating through state regulators whose impetus was protecting wetlands, securing parcels of privately owned land and spending months fighting the bureaucracy of CSX Railroad to gain easements through the company’s land, a point city Attorney Shawn Nickerson noted on Thursday.
“I certainly am happy to see this project come to fruition,” he said.
Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115.