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Robin St. pathway getting security upgrades

Tunnel vision

OBSERVER Photo by Jo Ward Jim Fisher, president of Revitalize Dunkirk stands in front of the south entrance of the Robin Street tunnel. The tunnel will see new security cameras and renovation this year.

After two years of complaints and multiple cleanup attempts, the Robin Street tunnel that links Robin near Second to Third Street in Dunkirk is finally having an overhaul with security measures installed.

“We are contracting with DFT Communications to put in high-tech cameras and a monitor right at the police station,” Mayor Wilfred Rosas told the OBSERVER. “We’ve entered into an agreement as part of our agreement with the services that we currently receive and we’re actually going to be redoing the sidewalks on that street and some of the lines that are going to be used are going to be placed under the sidewalk. We’re also going to have better lighting in there.”

According to Rosas, the main goal of all this work is to deter people from doing graffiti and any vandalism there.

“We’ve been maintaining it, but it continually gets messed with so we’re really looking forward to the weather getting better so we can get the cameras in,” Rosas said. “My anticipation is once the cameras are in this is going to stop, because if anybody dares to do anything illegal we will be looking to arrest them and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Complaints have been spilling into the city since 2019 from various area residents wanting to see repairs and security at the tunnel.

Former Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan donated $300 at the time of his council service to the city account at Sherwin-Williams to buy the paint for the tunnel and the work was done.

“They did get it done and it looked nice, the tunnel, I thought was in pretty good shape structurally, it’s just too bad that they’re having problems there again,” he said. “Two years later we’re still addressing the same issues that we had before.”

Jim Fisher, president of Revitalize Dunkirk, has made the tunnel a pet project for the last five years and is excited to see the work that’s going to be done.

“I started getting interested in it about five years ago when I noticed that the sidewalk was getting overgrown, there was dirt and weeds on the south side coming out of the tunnel, and that’s crazy because people use the tunnel,” Fisher said. “So I went down there and spent a few hours digging up the dirt and the weeds and getting the sidewalk cleared off and I cleaned the tunnel. It was then I noticed that there was a graffiti problem in there and then increasingly over the years I’ve noticed that there was a drug problem in there. I would basically go down there, spend a couple of hours, clean and just keep an eye on things.”

Fisher soon got another Revitalize Dunkirk member involved and the two started looking into either doing something with it as far as security or to renovate it because in Fisher’s opinion “it’s definitely needed on this end of town because kids go to school through there, there’s a lot of passage back and forth through the tunnel.”

According to Rosas, the work should happen — weather permitting — before summer.

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