Weekly Feature

2017-03-15 / Front Page

State of Village addresses Main Street construction, South Long, trolley system

by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter

Kulpa Kulpa The state is now working on construction documents for paving Main Street, installing the HAWK beacon and creating bulb-outs between Spring and Rock streets.

Mayor Brian Kulpa said construction on Main Street will begin in June, but he also said the Department of Transportation hasn’t confirmed that timeline.

Kulpa’s remarks on the Main Street work, which includes the pedestrian-friendly, high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon, were part of his State of the Village address, which occurred at Monday’s Village Board meeting.

The mayor also said that to allow people to continue onto Long Street, up to Main, and back again along a route that is safe and stimulating for the South Long Community Project, there would need to be some land swap and property transfers with existing park land.

Working with the state Legislature, the board plans to trade 2.1 acres of the existing park land for the new expanded park and pedestrian walkways. Kulpa is hopeful that from the consensus of previous public hearings and the success of the January community walk, the board can negotiate agreements during a Planning Board review in May.

Kulpa introduced more ideas for the neighborhood trolley system after observing existing trolley systems in Niagara Falls and Lake Placid. The Williamsville trolley would have a low fare, be free for students and have only 15 minutes of wait time. The trolley would travel from the Erie Community College North Campus, at 6205 Main St., to Daemen College, at 4380 Main St. Some stops along the route would include Yotality and YMCA.

During the meeting, the board resolved the issue about the closing times of village parks. The discussion began after a series of vandalism incidents. The board adopted a new law that restricts unaccompanied minors from being in the parks after dusk.

“We didn’t want to close the parks early because people like to go there at night,” Trustee Dan Delano said. “This is mirroring the steps that Jolly Boys took on Old Home Days. It pretty much ended any trouble, and we’ll see how this works with our parks.”

The no left turn onto Main Street from California Drive also was resolved, as the board decided to prohibit the left turn onto Main from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Kulpa also discussed the $4.8 million budget for this year, noting that the village will cut the tax rate by 4 percent this year. This follows a decline in taxes from the previous few years.

In another matter, Deb Rogers was present for her first Village Board meeting as a newly appointed trustee.

“I’m really honored to be asked to serve on this board,” Rogers said. “It’s a great group of men who I’m planning on learning a lot from.”

Rogers “couldn’t be happier” that her first official order of business was to appoint a new chairwoman, Julie Yates, for the Meeting House Committee. Rogers held the position for the past eight years and was honored to give it to her fellow committee member.

The board also tabled lifting the winter parking ban until the next meeting in March due to the snowstorm this week.

Trustee Basil Piazza announced that a public hearing for the 2017-18 budget will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, in Village Hall, 5565 Main St.

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