DUNKIRK – Funding for city playgrounds was on the minds of members of the Common Council’s Public Safety Committee at a meeting Tuesday morning in City Hall.
Public Works Director Tony Gugino said he went to the Wright Park playground after he received complaints, and he found that the wooden ramp for handicapped accessibility was rotting and that the slide was in disrepair.
Councilman Michael Michalski asked Gugino if he could figure out where about $80,000 in replacement funding for the program had gone.
Gugino said that it was an issue that was changed from the original grant that funded the bicycle path. He said he also remembered the funds were there when the grant was written in 2004, and he thought that they would be available this year when bike path work was being done.
Council members will now consider using the Bill Cease Fund, which was established by a former resident who wanted his donations used expressly for recreational purposes. There is about $93,000 in the fund, according to Michalski.
Gugino reported that he has two major maintenance issues. He said that a street sweeper is not working and that several thousand dollars may be needed to repair it. He said the bucket truck used for tree trimming is also not operable.
Councilwoman Stephanie Kayak asked Gugino if he would consider sharing a large piece of equipment like a street sweeper with another community like Fredonia. Gugino said that he would look into it. He also said the equipment has been used almost daily in every season except winter. He said the current street sweeper is 12 years old and may not be worth repairing.
Gugino also reported that he will hire seasonal laborers who will help with mowing, garbage pickup and other tasks.
Police Chief David Ortolano reported that his department is using new radio equipment and shared some of the installation expenses with the Village of Fredonia. Ortolano said his department was very busy with calls over the past weekend as the “Fred Fest” was held in Fredonia, and much of the activity spilled into the City of Dunkirk.
Committee members asked building inspector Al Zurawski if he had any ideas how to help homeowners who are unable to mow their lawns and keep up their property.
He said that in the past Adult Protection Services has been called, and sometimes an organization will send volunteers to help with the projects.
Properties that are not mowed regularly are cited by the city. Residents who fail to mow after the citation are subject to the city doing the task and billing the property owner.
Zurawski said residents who see a home where the grass has not been mowed can call his office and leave a message for the staff. Homes are inspected within 24 hours of the message and are put on a citation list.