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Jingle bells: Rock the Roundabout plans underway in Hamburg

A MEETING OF THE MINDS — Hamburg trustees and administrators check out ideas for the outside of Bank of America, provided by Buffalo muralist Stephen Rovner. Photo by Jessie Owen.
It’s (almost) Christmas time in the village.

The Hamburg Village Board began preparing for the holidays with the discussion of several upcoming Christmas celebrations, during its Nov. 4 work session and meeting.

Village Mayor Thomas Moses Sr. said that the committee in charge of the annual Rock the Roundabout event had asked permission to close Buffalo Street for the celebration and move the ball drop into a more open location. “I know this will make me very unpopular, but I don’t think this is a good idea,” the mayor said, explaining that he was concerned about traffic control, during the festivities.

“I would rather keep it in the parking lot,” he said, adding that Buffalo Street is one of the main routes for the local snowplows and that, if wintry weather occurs, the crews would have problems getting to their destinations. He said that fire and police personnel would also have an easier time, in the event of an emergency situation, if the event was held inside the municipal parking lot.

Board Trustee Laura Hackathorn, a member of the committee planning the Rock the Roundabout event, said that the request was made because the New Year’s Eve event is “more fun,” when held in the street.

Village Administrator Don Witkowski said that the village would need to provide a permit for this change and the staff for a detour.

“If we have a major snow, this would become a major issue,” Trustee Mark Colmerauer said, but Hackathorn said that the event could be moved, in that circumstance. “From a safety standpoint, I really think it would be better and safer to have it in the parking lot,” the mayor reiterated.

Deputy Mayor Tom Tallman said that he was also leaning toward the parking lot location, because of safety. “If the police chief thinks it’s safer, then I need to go with that,” he added, with a nod toward Chief of Police Dennis Gleason’s formerly expressed sentiments.

Hackathorn said that she had faith in the local emergency crews’ abilities to handle any issues that might arise.

“Maybe, for this year, we should say to keep it in the parking lot and then have them bring us some more options for next year,” Moses said. Colmerauer concurred. “Just have them give us alternatives for next year.”

Hackathorn said that she was disappointed with the decision, but that the planning committee would continue to prepare for the event, with the board’s stated direction.

Trustee Paul Gaughan reported that Hamburgh Holidays is in full swing, planning for the village’s Christmas celebrations, and has asked the board for sanctioning.

“I don’t have an issue bringing them under our umbrella,” Colmerauer said, “but they might be surprised at how much work it will take.”

In other news:
– A local resident asked permission to pay for the installation of a bench in the right-of-way at Huntington Court for a family member who likes to walk outside, but occasionally needs to rest.

The board discussed issues that could arise with this arrangement, including space requirements, establishing precedents and objections from nearby homeowners. “In general, benches are nice amenities in neighborhoods, especially for the elderly,” Hackathorn said. “It’s a nice community thing, in general.”

Colmerauer said that he believed setting standards for this type of arrangement would be necessary, before granting permission. “Right now, I don’t think we’re in a position to say yes,” he said, and the other trustees concurred.

– Gaughan said that Buffalo muralist Stephen Rovner has presented ideas for the outside of the local Bank of America. Rovner, who has done work at the Buffalo Museum of Science, Premier Liquor, the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, the Pierce Arrow Museum and more, has proposed painting scenes from Hamburg’s history onto panels that will be affixed to the building. Gaughan explained that this technique will present an easier surface on which Rovner can work.

– Hackathorn encouraged the community to participate in Green Friday, which will take place the day after Thanksgiving, on Nov. 29. “The green alludes to recycling: recycling money back into the community,” she said. Participating businesses will each provide customers with some sort of special deal. “This was very successful last year,” Hackathorn added.

– Pat Healy from information technology spoke to the board about acquiring a remote camera. Moses said that he wanted to have one available, to post at trouble spots. Healy said that the camera would need access to the Internet, power and a mounting location. He added that he will continue to look at all available options for the board.

– Public Works Superintendent Marc Shuttleworth invited local residents to place fallen leaves into the right-of-way for his crews to pick up.

– Gleason announced that the winter parking ban is in effect; village streets are off limits to parked cars between 1 and 6 a.m., every day.

– Moses welcomed the Hamburg and Saint Francis students in attendance, and advised them to stay active in their communities. “Make your voices heard and make great things happen,” he said.

– The board authorized a change order to E&R General Construction Inc., in an amount to not exceed $25,000 of village funds, from a road resurfacing account, for additional paving on Lombardy Lane.

–Moses was authorized to sign an agreement between the village and Hamburg Station Inc./Philips Edison & Company, regarding the placement of the Santa trailer in the Village Square Plaza on Buffalo Street from Nov. 30 – Dec. 28.

– The board also authorized an amendment to a lease agreement for the use of the Long Avenue water tank as a cell tower site for an initial term of 60 months, effective Sept. 1, 2021, with rental increase to take effect this Dec. 1.

– Moses was authorized to sign a memorandum of understanding between the village and Jeffrey Knappert, for use of the apartment at the community center and maintenance of the facility and grounds.

– The board approved a salary of $8.75 per hour for Scott Silverman, a part-time recreation attendant with the youth center and after-school programs. This seasonal position was approved for the fall and winter.

– The board also approved a salary of $7.90 per hour for John Najeski, a part-time recreation attendant, grounds, with the above guidelines.

The next Hamburg Village Board work session meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 18, with the board meeting’s following, at 7. The meetings will both be held in the village hall boardroom.
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