A learning experience will return

The Dunkirk Common Council made quick work of its agenda Tuesday but did learn about the status of several ongoing projects – and one summertime happening.

Parents of younger children will be happy to learn the city will be involved again with Camp Gross in providing an outdoors experience at the facility. The longstanding arrangement between the city and the camp was uncertain until Mayor Anthony J. Dolce clarified the situation.

“Last council meeting I was asked by Councilwoman (Stacy) Szukala and a lot of members of the public if Camp Gross will be happening this year,” he began, “I’m pleased to say it is. Look for notices on our website, newspaper, radio outlets for all the details.”

The day camp has been sponsored by the city for many years and included one-week sessions run by Larissa Aldrich, the city’s recently retired Youth Bureau Program Coordinator.

Dolce also reported that the city received 13 replies to its request for qualifications as it examines the future of the three fire halls.

“I’m very satisfied with that number. It’s a very positive thing,” he stated. “The downside being it will take some time to … approve all of those so we will be starting that in the near future.”

After the meeting Dolce said both he and Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom, along with as yet undetermined other officials, would be on the review committee.

Department of Public Works Director Tony Gugino provided an update on the Willowbrook Avenue water tank in response to a question from Szukala. Gugino said the new tank has been lifted into place.

“Caldwell Tank did the hydraulic lifting of the tank, the bowl if you will, the tank was assembled on the ground during the fall. It was quite amazing,” Gugino reported. “They jacked it up to the top of the concrete base. … From this point they will work on the interior securing of the bowl to the concrete base and continue finishing that. Then the top will go on and then the rest of the painting and the exterior paint treatments.”

Gugino added a City of Dunkirk logo to enhance the look of the tank will be added and then the last phase, interior work, will be completed. Gugino said work should be completed by the end of summer and then a separate bid for the demolition of the existing tank will be done, maybe in 2014.

“It should be a pretty interesting bid too, because scrap being what it is now. I’ve heard that a lot of big demos of a steel tank like that people actually pay the city to take the opportunity to tear things down like that,” he added.

Councilwoman Stephanie Kiyak asked about work at the water filter plant on filter bed six. Gugino said it has been going well with demolition work completed.

“They’ve begun now the restructuring and redesign of the new filter beds. … We had a meeting last week down there with the construction crew and operators, engineers and the county Board of Health was there two weeks ago,” he added. “Everything is going well and we’re excited to get that filter bed project complete. “

All items on the agenda passed unanimously, including approving step two of getting properties at 79 W. Doughty St. and 128 Lincoln Ave. demolished. Before that vote, Szukala asked City Attorney Ron Szot about the difference between a prior resolution on the demos, the resolutions under consideration, and the ones that will follow on the buildings. Szot said it was the same as the demolition of 209 Swan St. in 2012.

“In Chapter 18 of the City Code there’s basically three steps that need to happen where the council authorizes, or directs actually, the building inspector to do certain things that gives the property owner, or anyone who has any interest in the property, some due process rights, certain notices,” he explained. “If there’s an issue we need to move, or air the issue, the next step if you approve these two resolutions is to have an opportunity to have a hearing like in the 209 Swan St. My presumption, our presumption, is they’re not going to take advantage of that opportunity. The three resolutions are just taking each part of Chapter 18 of the Code and authorizing it in sequence.”

Szot added that liens would be placed on the properties but enforcement was an issue.

Send comments to gsnyder@observertoday.com