2020 has been an extremely unusual and difficult year for everyone as we adjust to the “new normal” that the COVID19 pandemic has resulted in. For the safety of our residents and youth, we had closed the Community Center in March in response to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order. In June, as New York State entered Phase 4, we developed protocols and safety measures and were able to open the Griffith Park Splash Pad and the Senior Center. After a busy, hot summer season, the splash pad concluded its second year on August 30th. The Seniors are meeting only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays and anxiously await the start of the Erie County Lunch Program. In August, we repaired our sanitary sewer lines while Erie County Highway was undergoing road reconstruction on William Street. Collaborating with other municipalities benefits us financially and saves on repair costs for our residents. Other sewer repairs this year by the Village were the replacement of six storm drain inlets on Lackawanna, Gates and Roland Streets. During conference calls with the Environmental Facilities Corp. and the NYSDEC, we were informed that the hold has been released for some municipalities grants across the state, and Sloan’s $4.5 million in grants was included. This enables us to proceed with the three-year sanitary sewer project as planned. 2021 will be another active construction season in the Village as necessary infrastructure updates continue.Utilizing our Community Development Block Grant funding, 2021 will also see the installation of curbing on Grattan and Lehigh Streets, followed by paving. This will benefit homeowners by directing stormwater to the drain inlets, instead of ponding on streets and driveway aprons. Standing water damages the asphalt, undermines sidewalks and sometimes even ends up in basements. Over the next two years, we will complete curbing and paving on Celina and Mann Streets. I have worked closely with Erie County Legislator Tim Meyers and have secured a $15,000 grant from the County. Deputy Mayor Eric Czubaj, as Recreation Director, and I will be developing a plan for some rehabilitation at Wrazen Park. Our top priority will be getting the two swing sets installed that were previously purchased. Earlier in October, I met with County Clerk Mickey Kearns and representatives from the WNY Law Center regarding 2331 Broadway. The Village had reported the property to the “Zombie Task Force” at the beginning of 2020 and they have been vital in moving along the foreclosure action and ultimately, the demolition of this property. Recently, HUD gave the approval to move forward with the demolition contract and take possession of the “vacant” lot after the building is razed.We also work closely with the Buffalo & Erie Niagara Land Bank, referring properties that are available at the County auction for back tax sales. Of the properties purchased by BENLIC last year, one has been sold to a family and the other is being fully rehabilitated by the land bank themselves and will be offered for sale by springtime. Building successful partnerships with organizations benefits our community and I want to thank Clerk Kearns, members of the WNYLC and BENLIC Director Jocelyn Gordon for their collaborative effort in removing blighted properties from our neighborhood.See you around the Village!