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Thursday, May 04, 2017

Pappas seeks full term as N.T. mayor

All WNY News     Thursday, May 04, 2017    

STAFF REPORTS
news@allwnynews.com



NORTH TONAWANDA -- Mayor Art Pappas will ask voters in November to keep him in place to “continue our great progress,” the first-term mayor told supporters this morning.

Pappas, who was elected alderman-at-large four years ago, succeeded Rob Ortt after the former mayor was elected to the New York State Senate. Now into his third year as mayor, Pappas said he hopes voters will give him another term so he can “finish the big things we’ve started” and “keep delivering on our promises.”

“I believe in the value of longevity to accomplish our goals,” Pappas said.  “Any program takes time to implement, and I’m asking the voters to give me the time to finish what we’ve started.”

Pappas pointed to a list of accomplishments—the completion of the Gratwick Riverside Park Marina, a major street repair project that saw 13.5 miles of roads repaved, the opening of new businesses like Ivy Lea Construction and renovation of the Wurlitzer plant, and major improvements to the city’s storm water system—as a strong case for his candidacy.

“However,” he told supporters, “I’m not running just on what I’ve done, but rather all the things we still can and should—and need—to do to make our city stronger.”

North Tonawanda Republican Committee Chairman Mike Carney, who joined Pappas for his announcement, noted that, under Pappas’s leadership, North Tonawanda was seeing major construction projects come to fruition. This includes recent approval of a project by One Rock Development to build waterfront condos on River Road and current review of a plan for new housing in the vicinity of 1100 Sweeney Street. Also noteworthy was the relocation and expansion of the DeGraff Memorial Hospital emergency room—a development that Pappas notes marks a reversal from concerns just a few years ago that the facility might be shuttered.

Pappas pointed to the Oliver Street corridor, which he called “North Tonawanda’s diamond in the rough,” and ongoing upgrades for public safety as two areas of focus that he hoped to advance given a full four-year term.

“We will make our city better, stronger, and prouder, all while keeping taxes in check,” Pappas vowed. “We have resources we’ve only begun to tap, like the potential of our waterfront and Tonawanda Island, where we’re making real development progress. I want people to feel proud to live here, to work here, to be part of NT.”

Carney praised Pappas for the leadership style he’s brought to City Hall, which he said has helped the first-term mayor succeed.

“Art has good working relationships with all of our aldermen, and that matters, because it helps him lift big projects,” Carney said. “But Art has always strived to make our department heads, our employees, and our residents feel like they’re part of a team.  His open-door policy lets him hear directly from people about issues impacting our city government, and he tells me that’s part of why he got into government in the first place: to solve problems.”

Carney pointed to Pappas’s successful negotiation of five contracts with city employee unions as evidence of his aggressive efforts to get results.

Pappas also vowed to continue the city’s longstanding focus on economic development.  As a member of the Lumber City Development Corp., Pappas has helped shepherd business projects through to successful launches. He also noted that he plans to actively support enhancement efforts for the arts, supporting expansion and improvements at the Riviera Theater, the Herschell Carrousel Museum, the Carnegie Arts Center, and Project 21. The Pappas administration has also taken steps to ensure that popular outdoor concerts continue at local venues.

Pappas served on the NT Board of Education for 17 years, the NCCC Board of Trustees for nine years, NT Housing Authority Board for eight years and the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas Board for five years.  He also continues to serve on the NT youth board–which he has done for 32 years—and the Historical Society of the Tonawandas, the United Way, and Niagara Military Affairs Council.

Pappas will seek the endorsements of the Republican, Independence, and Conservative parties on November’s ballot.

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