NORTH TONAWANDA — After 11 years on the North Tonawanda Common Council, Alderman Eric Zadzilka will not be seeking re-election this year. He is the second public official in North Tonawanda to leave their position, after Mayor Arthur Pappas announced earlier this year he will not be running for re-election.
During his time on the council, Zadzilka served as council president from 2017 to 2020 before passing the torch to Alderman-at-Large Robert Pecoraro this year. Zadzilka said he decided not to run for re-election after feeling it was time to leave. Though he will miss the position, he plans on remaining civic-minded after his term concludes. He was originally inspired to run for office after getting involved in the development of the Walmart along Niagara Falls Boulevard.
“I came to all the planning board meetings when they were talking about building the Walmart,” Zadzilka said. “I was listening to the project, hearing the project and I spoke during the meetings to ask a lot of questions. And, I got very interested and people were like, ‘You seem like you take an active role and you seem like you’ve don your homework. You helped a lot with this project, maybe you should think about running for office.”
He originally thought about running for the North Tonawanda School Board, however, at the time, was very active in the Republican Committee, where he learned of an opening for a Third Ward Alderman on the Common Council. Some of the highlights from his time in office have been finishing the projects of yesteryear, with a particular interest on revitalizing downtown North Tonawanda. Zadzilka remained steadfast in his work with many redevelopment projects in the area such as the North Tonawanda Botanical Gardens.
One challenge that has been a constant over his 11 years in office was that of keeping services affordable without the burden of it overflowing to taxpayers. An example he recalled was the county dispatch center for first responders, which benefited the community greatly. With all he has done for the community, there are still projects that got away. Zadzilka detailed some, saying it wasn’t a lack of effort leaving these projects unfinished.
“I would say there’s always that project that you want to see finished,” Zadzilka said. “Some of the things that will happen with projects like Penrose, I won’t see that to completion, and some for he people that are coming to live here. There’s so many projects. I’d like to see Armstrong Pumps was one of the ones I’d have liked to see into completion. They were going to do a proposed expansion, so that’s the one I wish we could have kind of made that happen sooner. But, there was not much we could do on our end.”