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OCT 21- OCT 28, 2014

Council Approves Spending on Plans Sight Unseen

October 21, 2014

Beautiful Jayne Park is all-green. Why lay down asphalt paths? On the right is one of the oldest trees in Niagara Falls a giant Sycamore

The Niagara Falls City Council, by a vote of 3 to 2 on Oct. 14, approved an unseen contract with Scott Lawn Yard Care to perform $269,115 of park re-design for Jayne Park.

While renderings of the possible work were posted on the city website, Mayor Paul Dyster has not shown the public or the council what the actual scope of work will consist of.

Council Members Andrew Touma, Charles Walker and Kristen Grandinetti nevertheless gave their approval for the spending for plans sight unseen.

Council members Robert Anderson and Glenn Choolokian voted no, noting that Dyster has not disclosed in writing specifically what work will be done.

In 2009, Senior Planner Tom DeSantis changed the original Jayne Park plans after the Reporter revealed those plans included a parking lot, lights and a canoe launch which might convert the small, neighborhood park on Cayuga Island into a regional attraction.

After the Reporter article appeared, about 350 Cayuga Island residents - out of about 700 total voters on the island - signed a petition objecting, and the canoe launch and parking lot were removed from plans by Mayor Dyster.

The latest renderings show an eight foot wide, approximately one-mile, asphalt walking path, along with an “overlook” at the confluence of the Little River and Cayuga Creek.

The Reporter has been critical of the “overlook” since those standing on the platform will be peering over a narrow creek into the backyards of Buffalo Ave. homes.

The Reporter also criticized the walking path as unnecessary. While its precise location is not publicly known, at eight feet wide, it will cause the removal of some 41,600 square feet of rich, black Cayuga Island topsoil, begging the question: Who gets the topsoil, worth about $40,000?

Trees are also scheduled for removal. Firewood is valuable, and certain species of trees are extremely valuable to custom furniture makers. Who reaps the reward?

At the bottom of the Jayne Park renderings is the stamp of Clark Patterson Lee, the engineering firm Dyster hired at yearly retainer of $93,000 plus billable hours in lieu of a city engineer.

Will the renderings and the “monitoring” of construction run the price over the contracted amount?

The Jayne Park plan was touted as being made possible by a $145,000 Greenway grant. What is rarely mentioned is that this is a matching grant, which means the city has to match the grant and, if costs run over, pick up the difference.

The Reporter wonders how much the Jayne Park project, with scheduled work, renderings, engineer design, change-orders and consulting fees will cost city taxpayers before the ribbon is cut on the walking path.

How much will taxpayers finally pay for park improvements that seemingly nobody wants other than the Mayor and DeSantis and perhaps the contractors.

And improvements, quite arguably, the park does not need?





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©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina