Gary and Patty Damico have been some of Dunkirk's biggest boosters in recent years. They donate their time for a number of city events, including the annual senior sweep, and they also invest in a downtown that has been downtrodden in recent years.
In 2011, the store owners participated in the facade improvement project of the Community Development Block Grants for their store on Central Avenue. The city provided 50 percent of the cost - $7,148 - while P&G paid the rest.
This year, however, the project was considered ineligible by the federal Housing and Urban Development. It has left a sour taste with Gary Damico.
"I'm not questioning if the city didn't follow through, that's different," he said. "The term we hate is P&G was ineligible for the funds and we'd like to see why we were ineligible. ... I need to have HUD show me where we were ineligible to receive these funds and I'm looking for a correction that P&G Foods was eligible to receive the funds, however the city may have not followed through on whatever they were supposed to do."
Technically, P&G was not ineligible. Their mistake was the facade problem did not create additional employment, a fact Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce seemed to be unforgiving on in an OBSERVER article published last week.
"They didn't create any jobs ... in order to qualify for the facade money you have to create jobs," he added.
Dolce was a part of the city administration in 2011. He must have watched as these funds were distributed. He's not taking any responsibility in this mess, so why make P&G Foods look guilty.
If anything, he could have been a bit more diplomatic - and appreciative - of a business that has boosted and believed in downtown.