CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Pastor Ned Holderby sits in his office at St. Stephen’s on Tonawanda Creek Road, looking out the window, wondering when the street will be repaired.
“We’ve been patient enough,” said the Pastor, whose patience is running thin now. “It is frustrating because it causes all kinds of interruptions and delays.”
From reported lengthy emergency response wait times, to moved bus stops and mail delivery complaints, the pastor says many residents are feeling the impacts from the closure.
In June 2014, the pastor was in his office in St. Stephen’s, like usual, when he says it was suddenly “chaotic” outside — the road began eroding.
“A man from the county looked at me and said ‘We don’t have money for this’ and I knew it was going to be a while,” said Holderby. “I’m not pointing fingers — that’s not why I’m here — but I feel the county has a ho-hum way about outlying areas.”
Two years later, the road remains closed and crumbling.
“We are rural but we are part of the county and deserve respect and attention,” said Pastor Holderby.
To get that attention, he created a petition. He will be delivering more than 1,000 signed forms to the county legislators.
“These are people who use county roads,” said the pastor while thumbing through the stack. “People who are concerned with the fact that this road is dangerous in its current state.”
“That highlights the fact we need to get this done as soon as possible,” said Edward Rath, the 6th District’s representative for the Erie County Legislation.
Rath says the county set aside $500,000 for the Tonawanda Creek Road project but it’ll be around $3million to properly repair it; money, Rath says, the county doesn’t have right now. Rath says the executive, Mark Poloncarz, must prioritize the project which’ll bring in federal and state aid to fix the project.
The Erie County Executive released a statement explaining the project; saying it is a geological issue and a soil problem that must be addressed. Part of the statement reads: “Tonawanda Creek Road is definitely on the radar but is not a road that can be fixed in a “half-hearted” manner.”
“The residents are sick and tired of waiting,” said Rath. “When you have a road closed as long as this has been closed, it should have been addressed long ago.”
“We would like for that to happen, quickly,” said Pastor Holderby.
There is a meeting between the county officials and residents taking place October 11, 2016 at 6:30p.m. at St. Stephen’s Church located at 8520 S. Tonawanda Creek Road.