On Tuesday, Dunkirk Public Works Director Tony Gugino, had a surprise for the members of the public works committee. He explained he verified that $250,000 the city was to use from a grant applied for in 2004 is still available. The monies were to be used for playground equipment in Wright Park and a bikeway from the park to Main Street.
When members of the committee were surprised about playground equipment, Gugino got a copy of the grant which had been put together by former Director of Development Maclain Berhaupt.
When asked for advice from the committee, Gugino said, "Take the $250,000 and make it part of the scope of the wall contract."
He also cautioned that the city was working under time constraints, because the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers was key. The permit will expire in 2013.
Councilwoman-at-large Stephanie Kiyak asked if a new request for proposal (RFP) should be written. Gugino said if the council wanted to do that it would be possible.
"Do it quick," said Gugino. "Don't invest more than three months on the process. ... The key is the permit. Completion has to be by 2013."
Gugino advised the committee to get with the mayor, decide on the scope of the project, and improve the bike path and sidewalk as part of the project.
Gugino also discussed the status of tree work and roadwork in the city.
He said that there had been 12-14 major tree issues in the city. Gugino also explained the role of National Grid saying, "They have their own forester. They contract out to take care of trees (that interfere with power lines). ... We (city workers) are not allowed to deal with trees that impact the power lines."
Citing safety, Gugino continued, "The public needs to know I will not send the guys where they shouldn't be."
Gugino explained that National Grid has been very helpful in working with the city.
Concerning roadwork, Gugino said the roads have been patched and are in pretty good shape. He said he would like to carry over the CHIPs (highway money) so that next year, he could combine two years' monies to do a more permanent fix on the streets that need it. He explained that getting in the equipment for such a fix is more cost effective when more streets are involved.
Fourth ward councilperson Stacy Szukala said she was concerned about the tall grass on the railroad property on Franklin Avenue.
"I get many calls about this," she said. Szukala said she had called the railroad to ask for it to be mowed. She was initially encouraged by the representative's responsive attitude, but found out that instead of mowing, the railroad had applied a weed killer. The result was long brown grass.
Szukala shared the number of her contact and encouraged others on the committee to call.
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