A pair of advocates for the removal of a portion of the Robert Moses Parkway in the city of Niagara Falls encouraged Niagara County lawmakers on Tuesday to keep their opinions on the controversial roadway to themselves.

Bob Baxter, conservation chair of the Niagara Heritage Partnership, an environmental group that has long advocated for full removal of the portion of the parkway from Niagara Falls north to the city line, decried members of the Legislature for entertaining a request from one of their own who believes the county should endorse the status quo when it comes to the parkway issue.

Baxter said Lewiston Republican John Ceretto’s resolution calling for opposition to the removal of any portion of the parkway should be considered an “embarrassment” by the entire legislative body.

Baxter said Ceretto’s measure, which argues that the parkway functions as a “critical” transit route for residents in the towns of Lewiston and Porter, lacks sufficient evidence needed to support the lawmaker’s “subjective assertions” about the potential impact of parkway removal on the community.

Baxter also suggested that Ceretto — who works for the New York State Office of Parks — should remove himself from the entire discussion as his employer oversees the land on which the parkway is located and will be responsible for upcoming hearings on the roadway’s future configuration.

“Any county legislator, therefore, whose principal employment is with state parks, should be prohibited from voting on the issue,” Baxter said. “To do so, would be a clear conflict of interest.”

Local historian Paul Gromosiak, another parkway removal advocate, told lawmakers the decision on the future of the parkway within the city’s boundaries should be left to the people and the leaders in Niagara Falls. Gromosiak said many parkway supporters living outside the city do not fully appreciate the negative impact that the roadway has had on Niagara Falls over the years, nor are they willing to consider alternatives.

“Many of these people don’t understand that there are other ways to get to Lewiston,” Gromosiak said.

Ceretto said he submitted his resolution in response to one presented weeks earlier by his colleague Renae Kimble. The Falls Democrat suggested the county go on record as supporting parkway removal from the Falls north to the city line. Similar resolutions already have been supported by members of the Niagara Falls City Council and several local block clubs and business organizations.

Ceretto said he received several telephone calls from his constituents following the release of Kimble’s measure. He said many Lewiston residents told him they want the parkway to stay just the way it is.

As of press time Tuesday, lawmakers were preparing to send Ceretto’s resolution to members of the Legislature’s Economic Development Committee for review. Kimble’s measure was directed to the same committee last month.

Ceretto said he’s looking forward to a productive discussion on both items.

“I’m hoping we can get together and talk about these initiatives to benefit both communities,” he said.

Contact reporter Mark Scheer at 282-2311, ext. 2250