Events director, councilman exchange jabs over boardwalk

Hector, Heenan get heated

Hector Rosas

Conversation during last week’s Economic Development Committee meeting over the Dunkirk Boardwalk Market saw some tense exchanges between a city councilman and the festivals and special events coordinator.

Shaun Heenan, third ward representative who’s chairman of the committee, initiated discussion over the boardwalk and how the city goes about contracts with businesses and raising leases. During the discussion, Heenan noted the business turnover at the boardwalk through time. This year, the boardwalk will have seen two businesses leaving, he said.

“I don’t like seeing turnover in a place where we’re trying to have stability,” Heenan said.

Hector Rosas, city festivals and special events, said he collects rents from the businesses operating out of the boardwalk. Rosas told Heenan there’s 25 businesses on the waiting list to get into the boardwalk.

“As soon as one leaves it’s going to be filled,” Rosas said.

Heenan said he knew years where they didn’t have three businesses waiting to get in. He said he’d be surprised if it were 25. Rosas responded by saying he could name three businesses off the top of his head that want in.

“That’s great. Name the other 22,” Heenan said.

Rosas said that’s on the list.

“We haven’t had any problem filling any shops,” Rosas said. Commenting on the boardwalk, Heenan said it’s the biggest catalyst that’s brought people down to the pier. Rosas disagreed.

“(I think it’s) improvements to Music on the Pier and special events and festivals,” Rosas said.

Heenan responded by saying that it was bigger when former Mayor Richard Frey was in office.

“You’re full of crap,” Heenan said.

Rosas quickly asked for an apology, for which Heenan gave. Fourth Ward Councilman Michael Civiletto entered by criticizing Heenan’s language. The meeting was adjourned after the exchange as officials got out of their seats with disgruntled looks.