Niagara Gazette

June 10, 2013

Falls City Council told of $7K in vandalism done to LaSalle Waterfront Park

Staff Reports
Niagara Gazette

LaSalle Waterfront Park has been victimized by vandals again.

Dave Kinney, the director of the Department of Public Works, said vandals smashed concrete, scratched mirrors in the bathroom, scrawled graffiti throughout the park and bent metal rails on Friday night.

Some of the damage happened the previous weekend, but most of the damage was done on Friday, Kinney said.

"They've been doing something every weekend to make the place look bad," the DPW chief said.

The cost of the damage was estimated to be $7,000.

Kinney said that there has been an uptick in vandalism in the Falls.

Swings were cut down at a park on 91st Street and a porta-potty was tipped over at a private construction site on Military Road this weekend.

"This vandalism is running rampant throughout the city," Kinney said.

LaSalle Waterfront Park, which was dedicated last May, has been damaged by vandals before. Last summer trash cans in the bathrooms were set ablaze leaving burn marks on the stone walls.

Niagara Falls Police Superintendent Bryan DalPorto said his department will use information provided by DPW to help in its investigation of the incident.

"We'll actively work with DPW as we always do and investigate it," DalPorto said. "Hopefully we'll bring them to justice."

City officials worked to secure more than $1.3 million in grant funding to make the park — a long-time dream of LaSalle residents — into a reality.

Mayor Paul Dyster said the city will look to redouble its efforts in patrolling the area.

"That park is something that the people of the neighborhood have wanted for so long," he said.

Dyster called the vandalism "despicable," but said that it is something that has to be dealt with.

"We're hoping that residents and park users will say something if they see something," he said. "Give us a call and we'll check it out."

In other council news;

• The council passed a measure to supply the police department with an additional $150,000 for overtime. DalPorto said the need for more overtime funds is in a large part due to the 14 vacant positions in the department.

• The council passed a measure to award a bid package for the demolition of 14 houses — mostly on Fourth Street and Fifth Street — to Region Environmental Demolitions, Inc. The company came in with the low bid at $245,222.

• The council approved an extra $70,000 to be transferred to DPW to hire 10 temporary employees to cut grass at private residences that have already been ticketed by the Department of Code Enforcement. The city hopes to recoup some of that money by billing the homeowners for the work. Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Councilman Charles Walker voted no on the measure while Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian, Councilman Sam Fruscione and Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. voted yes.