Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 16, 2013

Town of Niagara officials after grant funds for Belden Center

Niagara Gazette — Town of Niagara officials are hoping second time is the charm concerning a $600,000 grant program to help citizens living in the Belden Center area.

New York State's Office of Homes and Community Renewal is once again offering money to municipalities throughout the state in its community development block grant program, money the town was unsuccessful at obtaining last year.

The money would be used to begin installing much-needed storm water sewer drainage — used to handle rain runoff collection during heavy rains — along Rhode Island Avenue between Hyde Park Boulevard and Norman Street. It's a much-less ambitious project than the proposed plan last year, brought on by changes needed to better compete for the money, according to grant writer Nathan Taylor.

"We did an exit interview with the grant agency last year and they told us some of the things they wanted to see change," he told the Niagara Town Board Tuesday during a public hearing on the new application. "The result is a drastic reduction in the scope of the first phase of the project."

In reducing the project's impact on the area, which residents say is in complete disrepair on most roadways in the neighborhood, there's no way the project would allow for storm water drainage work along each of the side streets branching off Rhode Island Avenue.

Instead, Highway Superintendent Robert Herman said, the town would work the project in several phases as money became available to the town after completing the major street, assuming grant approval.

Herman said the project has to start somewhere, and the best place is the largest street in the neighborhood.

"We need a starting point to fix the drainage," he said. "Once we have that starting point and we get this finished, we can fix the road. And we'll go down each side street as the town finds money for the project, however long that'll take."

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