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NORTH TONAWANDA – One topic on everybody’s mind at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting was the rash of early morning fires that had hit their city and the City of Tonawanda. The mayor and aldermen took the time to thank those firefighters that were on the front lines.

Council President Phillip “Russ” Rizzo also opened the meeting with a prayer for those who had been affected by the fires.

“I just want to commend our first responders. I was on scene on Goundry Street at fire headquarters at about 3:15 a.m. and there were about 150 firefighters, both volunteer and professional,” said Ortt who noted that mutual aid from all over Niagara County was on the scene. “The fact that nobody is injured is due to the professionalism of these folks.”

The Council also recognized those on the front lines during an electrical fire on June 27 at Memorial Pool. Several lifeguards and staff who had evacuated children and families from the pool without injury were honored by the Council. “In 45 to 60 seconds they had the place completely cleared,” Rizzo said.

“All those kids went home that day,” said Ortt, who noted that it could have been much worse.

In other action, the Council approved a construction contract for a sanitary storm separation project at a cost of $294,748 to the low bidder, New Frontier Paving and Excavation of Eden.

The project will encompass Ironton Street and First, Second and Third avenues and is one of a number of sanitary storm sewer separation projects that have been going on throughout the city over a number of years in order to stop flooding.

Rizzo, who is the alderman for that district, said flooding has been an issue in that part of the city since he took office in 2000.

He said residents have been hearing about the upcoming project and are very excited to see it get started. He said construction is expected to start in about two weeks.

“We’ve had a lot of problems when there are heavy rainstorms. The sanitary (line) gets overpowered and it backs up into their basements. We are going to separate the lines and when that goes in we should have less problems,” said Rizzo.

In another matter, the Council approved the sale of a city-owned lot behind the new Wattengel Funeral Home at 533 Meadow Drive for $8,400. A rear portion of the lot will remain green space for the neighbors adjacent to the lot. The funeral home is purchasing the property behind it so it can expand parking.

The lot is also adjacent to the North Tonawanda Library, and its board had already given the green light for the project.

Joseph V. Mantione said after the meeting that they should be able to add about 50 parking spaces. He said they were having a problem with people parking along the street, which was creating a dangerous situation.

The Council also approved the sale of a city-owned lot between 1779 and 1794 Sweeney St. to Building Inspector Cosimo R. Cappozzi for $25,000.

Cappozzi thanked the Council after the meeting. “We will be building a house on that lot and the timing is most appropriate because we will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in 10 days,” Cappozzi said. “So I would like to present my wife with a set of plans she will approve of.”

email: nfischer@buffnews.com