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City, county leaders eager for cold to leave, public works jobs to proceed

WBFO file photo

Count two local government leaders among the many who are eager for prolonged cold, wet weather to end. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz both say the longer it stays, the longer it holds up the start of critical public works projects, beginning with road repairs.

"It has slowed some of our public works projects for paving, for concrete that we would normally be ablr to start in April," Mayor Brown said. "You can't pour pour concrete, when it's raining and when it's this cold, successfully."

The Erie County Department of Public Works announced its 2018 road repair program Wednesday. Poloncarz told WBFO projects are currently about three weeks behind schedule with road repairs and conditions allow them only to make quick fixes on numerous potholes on local pavement.

"As long as this cold weather exists, there's nothing we can really do other than put cold patch down," Poloncarz said. "Once it finally gets warm enough, we can finally get out there and do mill and overlays and do significant work. It's going to be cold patch until that time."

The county executive told WBFO the weather remains too cold to even begin hot asphalt.  Many county parks are still snow-covered and golf courses remain dormant. Poloncarz suggested Grover Cleveland Golf Course at the Amherst-Buffalo line might be opened by mid May, weather permitting.

The weather forecast called for temperatures more appropriate for this time of year and Mayor Brown is eager to take advantage of them.

"Hopefully that will extend into next week and we'll be able to get into the parks and get our greens in shape and do the work we need to do, to make sure the hundreds of thousands of users of our parks are able to enjoy their park system," Brown said.

The delay in opening parks for spring and summer activities will result in lost revenues, both leaders admitted, but they also said those losses will not be financially devastating.

"It's not something that's going to make or break the county but it does make a difference, in the long run, for the parks department," Poloncarz said. "It's just disappointing. It also means that our beach season is going to get pushed back in all likelihood, just because it's so cold."

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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