By Jessica Bagley email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Mayor Patrick Mang announced a project to revitalize Elmwood Avenue Tuesday night during his annual State of the Village address.
“Elmwood Avenue can go ignored,” he said at the Kenmore Merchants Association event, which was held at Amigo’s Restaurant on Kenmore Avenue. “I’ve contacted a landscape architect at Wendel to improve it and help out the businesses there.”
The project would include adding green space, limited sidewalk reconstruction and improving right of ways.
“It would be a three to four year project, and the hope is that the state and county would buy in to provide more funding,” he said.
The project would also help with storm water run off, aiding in the village’s consent order with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Mang also noted other ongoing infrastructure improvements, including the state Department of Transportation’s plan to repave Delaware Avenue in the summer. Repaving on Kenmore Avenue will also continue in the spring.
“The section between Elmwood and Military is not part of that plan as of right now, but we are going to push for that.”
The village will have to renegotiate many of its contracts in 2014. Mang noted that the rising cost of healthcare, and new restrictions brought on by the Affordable Care Act, will constitute a challenge in the process.
“We are hoping we will be able to negotiate a deal that is fair for the employees and the taxpayers,” Mang said.
The mayor also pointed out changes and achievements that took place in 2014. In the fire department, which has the fastest response rate in Erie County, the village is saving money with the reduction of a full-time drive position and the addition of part-time employees.
The police department has eliminated the assistant chief position and added a new captain, Mang said, a move that has saved the village more funds.
Other cost-saving measures include a shared service agreement with the town to use its milling machine for the paving of five streets.
Those cuts have helped the village achieve an A bond rating, Mang said.
The mayor also recognized other changes coming in 2014. Sam Muscarella, who has been on the board for 20 years, will retire and hand over his position to newcomer Katie Burd.
“I would like to thank Sam for his service to the community. When I became a trustee, he welcomed us on the board and helped us out a lot,” he said. “We’ll be missing you, but we are looking forward to having Katie, as well.”
Bob Bolt, the president of the Kenmore Merchants Association, also pointed out the organization’s upcoming events. Santa Claus will be coming to the village green on Nov. 30, and the Stop Sip & Shop event will take place Dec. 12 from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. at shops along Delaware between Michael’s Florist and Mike’s Subs.
Bolt also said he and the board are considering adding a Taste of the Village Event.
“We aren’t sure yet if it will be part of Kenmore Days or a separate event,” he said. “We have a lot of good restaurants, too, and there’s no reason we can’t do it.”
Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.