June 15 has been declared “Nik Wallenda Day” in Niagara County.

The declaration was made this week by the county legislature, in anticipation of Wallenda’s planned June 15 walk across Niagara Falls, to Canada from the United States, on a high wire.

The declaration, co-sponsored by all 15 legislators, describes the walk as “an event of historic


Veteran Niagara Falls legislator Dennis Virtuoso called on the rest to make sure they’re present for the history-making.

“I hope you all come out and support it, early ... and I hope you all spend some money,” he said.

In other business Tuesday, lawmakers approved a motion declaring Niagara County the lead agency in the state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process that will precede upgrade of the county’s radio communication systems.

The county will undertake a full-blown environmental assessment to determine effects of erecting seven towers, at or near the Olcott, Terry’s Corners and Upper Mountain (Lewiston) volunteer fire companies, the Mount View county health campus, the Lockport city composting plant on West Jackson Street, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and on public property in North Tonawanda.

All but one of the towers will be about 180 feet tall, while the tower at the composting plant will be anywhere from 250 to 280 feet high due to the terrain there, according to sheriff’s Chief Deputy Thomas C. Beatty.

The county will spend an estimated $10 million on the upgrade project, which coincides with a Federal Communications Commission directive that all public radio users get off the wide band onto the narrow band of the radio spectrum by January 2013. Motorola Corp. is supplying the new system.

The county has about $4 million in grant pledges toward the project and will borrow the balance, Budget Director Daniel Huntington said.

• Approved summer hours for certain county departments effective June 25 through Aug. 31. Offices whose hours of operation are normally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will open and close a half-hour earlier for the season. According to Peter Lopes, human resources director, affected departments include the Board of Elections, the Legislature clerk’s office, Mental Health, probation and sheriff’s department clerical/non-uniformed offices, the treasurer’s office and the Veteran Service Agency.

• OK’d “casino cash” grants of $10,000 to the Canal Fest of the Tonawandas Inc. for execution of the 30th annual festival this summer, $2,800 to the Town of Wilson to publish marketing brochures, and $2,200 to the Town of Cambria to acquire a historical marker for a War of 1812 battle site. Four more requests for casino grants — $5,000 to support a July 4 concert and fireworks display in Wheatfield, $2,500 toward restoration of Das Haus museum restoration in Bergholz, $1,500 to market the Niagara County Builders Association Home Show, and $5,000 toward electricity costs of the planned “Festival of Lights Rebirth” in Niagara Falls — were referred to the economic development committee. 

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