NORTH TONAWANDA – With the beginning of summer just a few days away, the North Tonawanda Common Council gave its approval Tuesday for several summer events, but plans to bring food trucks to the city as part of an artisan festival prompted both discussion and restrictions.
Food trucks are part of the plan for Thursdays at Gateway sponsored by the Merchants Associations in both North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda. The event, which is expected to begin this week, was given approval by the Common Council, but with some restrictions. The weekly event will feature a dozen food trucks, six in each city, as well as artisans and acoustic music from 4 to 7:30 p.m. each Thursday through the end of August, except during Canal Fest.
Alderman at Large Malcolm Needler said food trucks were a hot button issue and wanted no more than six trucks in the city each week. He also wanted the trucks to be allowed only on Thursdays as part of the market. The trucks will be restricted to the Gateway Park area. All trucks must obtain permits, including health department and peddlers permits.
Mayor Robert G. Ortt said they are working on local legislation that would regulate food trucks in North Tonawanda, which is expected to come before the board in the next few weeks.
“No one is against events, artisans, bringing people downtown, but sometimes there are contentious issues and questions that need to be asked,” said Ortt. “We have done a good job attracting some quality restaurants, particularly in our downtown area, that pay taxes and go through a lot of red tape to fund the community and are part of the community.”
Also announced was Canal Fest of the Tonawandas, which will be back for a 32nd year and will be held from July 13 to July 20 in North Tonawanda and Tonawanda in Gateway Park on Sweeney Street, between Main and Webster streets. The event organizers agreed to pay the City of North Tonawanda $14,000 for use of city manpower and also provided proof of insurance.
Many favorites will be back, including the parade, the car cruise, the diaper derby, the bike cruise and craft shows.
The Common Council also approved a movie night at Pinewoods Park, “Flicks in the Park,” to benefit Boy Scouts Troop 184. The event will open at 7 p.m. July 25.