Frustration growing over failing fence

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A miles-long chain linked fence along Route 5 Lackawanna is not only an eyesore, it’s a safety hazard, city officials say. And not even a little public shaming has worked to get it fixed.

“It’s not rocket science guys,” said Lackawanna’s Director of Development Fred Heinle. “It looks bad.”

Heinle says he’s fed up about this fence. In fact, he was fed up last year when he notified the landowner Tecumseh Redevelopment, Inc., they were in violation of city ordinance.

It’s old and rusted. Some portions are caved in, while others jut out into traffic along Route 5. Some sections are in such disrepair, they’ve fallen away completely.

“It’s not keeping anyone in or out at this point in time,” Heinle said.

On Jan. 22, the city officially served Tecumseh with a violation notice, saying they had three days to comply and fix the problem. Each day constitutes a separate violation, at $250 per day.

Heinle even went a step further, taking matters into his own hands.

“There’s yellow caution tape that I personally put out there as well as paint, to let people know that there’s a dangerous issue there as well as to highlight it,” he said.

The other reason? Public shaming.

“Maybe we need to start shaming some of our less than stellar corporate entities in WNY starting with Lackawanna,” he said.”Start being good corporate citizens and take care of it.”

Heinle also said the problem stems beyond safety.

“How are we going to redevelop our city if that’s the image that we keep spewing out there, vacant lots and unmaintained lots,” he said. Fundamentally, it’s a small step that could go a long way to make that a more attractive and inviting place where people would want to open their business and invest in.”

Representatives from Tecumseh Redevelopment could not be reached for comment.

Heinle said the company claimed the damage was done during last year’s storm cleanup, as plows pushed snow on the aging fence. He said maintaining the fence is still the responsibility of the property owner.

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