Niagara Gazette

Columns

February 4, 2013

HIGGS: Block club retreat highlights partnerships

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls Block Club Council held its annual retreat attended by individual club leaders, members and other interested citizens. Our panel discussion centered on crime prevention and neighborhood revitalization with participation from many government leaders.

President Roger Spurback opened the meeting with some history of the almost 20 years the Block Club Council has existed and how it was started with the assistance of then New York Sen. Anthony Nanula who helped organize the original citizens into groups and provided funding to help promote our growth over the years. Roger stated we have held about 7,500 meetings including events during these years. The panel attendance at the retreat was a reflection of the partnerships we have made and are shown below.

One highlight was a visit from our new U. S. Congressman Brian Higgins who had only been representing our city for 26 days but has already taken some big steps in our direction. His comments about the New York Power Authority and its $308 million surplus caused some audience reaction when he stated 76 percent of this surplus came from proceeds of sales from power generated at our Niagara Power Project. Higgins stated their current budget shows $39 million more in revenues that is not budgeted. How could we not agree there should be a dedicated stream of funding to help with Niagara Falls infrastructure improvements? He urged all elected officials to speak with one voice and gave several examples of recent progress at Buffalo’s waterfront with the aid of the Power Authority from the last 50 year relicensing and how it triggered other private and pubic development in that city.

New York Assemblyman John Ceretto stated where you were born and raised is your home forever. His family started out on 19th Street and he is eager to continue to serve as our representative in the state Assembly for another term. He noted the absence of a local representative on the Power Authority Board and urged support for this from all elected officials.

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