Dunkirk’s Lucas Avenue debris pile to be removed

The constantly growing pile of brush, leaves, grass and assorted other vegetation that has been getting bigger all summer on Lucas Avenue in the city of Dunkirk should be a memory shortly.

On Tuesday, Mayor Anthony J. Dolce told the OBSERVER the Zoladz Construction Co. Inc., based in Alden, will begin removing the accumulation this week.

“They cannot guarantee it will be done in one day, but they will begin Thursday or Friday,” Dolce said.

The company called Department of Public Works Director Tony Gugino on Tuesday to inform the city of their plans.

“They come twice a year and they’ll have it all gone, probably within several days,” Gugino stated. “They truck it away themselves at marginal expense to the city. We used to hire somebody else to do it, but we’ve been working with this company for six years now and they’re wonderful.”

At a recent Common Council committee meeting there was discussion about where the material would be dumped while the former Lucas Avenue AL Tech plant was demolished under the state’s brownfields program.

Gugino said after talking Tuesday to the agencies and engineers doing the design work for the demolition, that was “off the table for right now.”

“The AL Tech demolition on Lucas Avenue will not be taking place this fall. It will probably be early spring next year, it’s still in the design phase and they’re going to go to bid in the winter,” Gugino explained. “They said don’t worry about it until spring or so. We’ll have a pre-construction meeting and let everybody know. The city will certainly be ready and aware of it well in advance. Mike (Streets Supervisor Porpiglia) and I will need some time to educate people on what we’re doing temporarily. It’s not an issue.”

Changes as to the operation of the dumping site were discussed at that committee meeting, in addition to moving it while the demolition is done.

City Attorney Ron Szot said more regular hauling of the dumped material might be accomplished when a new contract is completed.

“Another thing, and this goes to liability as well as finances, I mean I think any of us who have driven by there have seen all sorts of non-residents and commercial haulers dumping stuff there all at my tax dollar expense,” Szot added.

Councilwoman Stacy Szukala said some council members have discussed charging contractors a flat fee but who will regulate it is the problem.

Gugino said there is not enough manpower to monitor the facility.

“It’s the Wild Wild West, so everybody and anybody gets the benefit. I’m a Dunkirk taxpayer, they’re using our recycling center, they’re using our wood chip pile, our leaf pile, the contractors,” he explained. “There’s no control. There’s no security. There’s no gates. There’s no cameras. There’s no manpower.”

While the city did encourage people to dump brush because the city got paid for it, that is no longer the case.

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