When the Dunkirk Common Council holds its twice monthly regular meetings, part of the agenda allows for citizens to address council with their concerns. Sometimes, Councilwoman-at-Large Stephanie Kiyak has takers when she asks if anyone wishes the privilege of the floor, sometimes she does not.
At its most recent meeting council heard from three city residents, all speaking about different issues.
Up first was Washington Avenue resident Rosamond Burns, who addressed council seeking a change in the alternate parking hour for winter months. Burns stated the 5 p.m. time requires people to change their vehicles to the other side of the street in the dark. Burns told council she has fallen in the past while completing the task.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
City resident Walter Rutland addressed Common Council recently to talk about what he thinks the city needs in terms of development.
"Seniors should be able to go out and shop and come back in an early daylight hour and be in the parking space they should be, 3 o'clock maybe, so then I don't have to go out again," Burns stated, adding the change used to be at 6 p.m. until a few years ago.
"You put a shift worker before me who didn't want to get up in the middle of the afternoon because he'd get home to sleep," Burns continued. "You never got to mine. ... Honestly, it's too hard for seniors. I don't have a driveway."
Burns said she does have a garage but it is several hundred feet from her house and she could fall down. She also said she couldn't afford a parking ticket. She added she was 83 years old and "darn lucky."
"I don't want falling on the sidewalk to end it. So please consider that. ... I don't think there's any shift workers left around here, but there's a lot of seniors," she stated.
The parking hours were last amended in November 2006, according to the City Code.
Walter Rutland said he was at the meeting "out of concern as a community activist about our children."
"We do not have enough jobs for children coming out of high school, coming out of college, and it's about time Dunkirk has a skyscraper," Rutland continued. "We have a lot of waterfront property, as I said before. We could have our own Darien Lake amusement parks to bring in revenue. ... We don't want Dunkirk to become a ghost town because the way things are going, that's exactly what's going to happen. We need to build our infrastructure and everything about this great city. I want you to really understand what I'm saying and hear where I'm coming from.
"If we get IBM and places from New York City to come here and start building skyscrapers we could put in a clause to hire 35 percent of the people of Dunkirk, because I'm concerned about Dunkirk. If you don't listen to what I'm saying just watch. In no time this place will become a ghost town."
Rutland said he knows what he is speaking about.
"Chuck Schumer is one of my constituents. We used to live right around the corner from each other in New York and this is a guy that's really doing a lot of things. But nobody seems to be hearing what I'm saying. I am the people once I'm back here."
After registering a complaint about a lack of coverage for his previous statements to council, Rutland said Police Chief David Ortolano and the department are "doing a wonderful job."
"I think somebody should hear what I'm saying. The crime rate is low now in Dunkirk and I thank Chief Ortolano and all the police, the men and women, who are working here."
Rutland extended his thanks to Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom and his department "for their work in keeping the number of fires in the city low."
He added Mayor Anthony J. Dolce is a good mayor doing a good job and is his friend.
"I just don't want to hear what's happening in Buffalo, we're in Dunkirk and this is what we need, we need to take care of Dunkirk," Rutland continued. "If anybody's listening, I've been to the Incubator, I've been speaking at SUNY Fredonia, there's a lot of other things I'm going to be doing. I'm going to be going on the radio with the issues I'm talking about.
"If you're not listening at what im saying I just want you to know, it's time for a skyscraper to come here to Dunkirk. Thank you, I rest my case."
Glen Hurrell was present with his young daughter and had a request.
"We're here to officially ask the city if they could possibly put a changing table .. in the men's bathroom at the Boardwalk," he stated, adding privacy issues and avoiding questions and complaints about why he is in line at the women's restroom were his concern.
Individual speakers have three minutes to address council during the privilege of the floor portion of meetings, with speakers representing groups allowed five minutes.
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