Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 25, 2013

DELUCA: Tom Yots falls back in place

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Now Tom is back in this town.

On Wednesday, he officially accepted his appointment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sit on the Niagara Region volunteer citizen's commission advising the state's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

And he's delighted to be back. He misses this city and especially the state park. After the commission meeting, we took a walk through the newly renovated Three Sisters Island, brimming with tourists admiring its magnificence. For nine years, Tom walked his dog, Ollie, in the park every day. They got to be so popular among park employees that the dog was asked to be in a promotional video. Wednesday, he was stopped by a parks employee who shook his hand and asked him how he liked his new job.

In case you're wondering, he likes it a lot. "This offers a whole new opportunity for me," he told me about the commission. "When I was a teacher and Louise ran a little bakery, believe me, we weren't taking our kids to Disneyland. We were taking them to all the parks around here. That was our recreation. To me, this is an opportunity to say to the parks, 'Thank You.'"

Tom's not just going to be helping to oversee the parks. The word "preservation" in the state parks' title means preservation of anything of value in or outside of the parks. And Tom's pretty much an expert on what should be preserved.  When he lived here, he helped get preservation status for about 20 different city treasures, including many churches like St. Peter's and the Unitarian Church. At the outset, he said, almost everybody was reluctant to get involved in registering their places as historical sites but he was able to sell them on the benefits.  

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