Heather McKeever deserves another term as Gowanda's mayor.
After serving as a trustee for three years, she succeeded Mayor Richard Klancer when he was elected to the Cattaraugus County legislature.
Mayor McKeever has Gowanda on the right track. In the past year alone, Gowanda has received millions of state and federal dollars for various projects, including the recent reimbursement of $1.3 million from FEMA for flood recovery.
In addition, Gowanda was successful in obtaining $650,000 from the federal Safe Routes to School program, a $100,000 federal Community Development Block Grant for restoration of the Hollywood Theater, $250,000 from New York State Parks & Recreation for construction of Zoar Valley Gateway Park, a $420,000 New York state preservation grant for the Hollywood Theater, a $100,000 CDBG grant for municipal parking lot improvements on South Water Street, and a $71,100 Brownfield Opportunity Areas grant aimed at redeveloping former industrial areas.
Under Mayor McKeever, the village has re-activated the planning board and is partnering with state and county agencies, as well as neighboring towns, to develop a regional comprehensive master plan. The Thatcher Brook Task Force, chaired by her running mate, Trustee Paul Zimmermann, is working with the federal Army Corps of Engineers and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on a flood risk management feasibility study. The village is cooperating in efforts to rebuild Tri-County Memorial Hospital, destroyed in the August 2009 flash flood. TLC Health System's recent submission of plans to New York state for a new $23 million hospital in nearby Perrysburg is good news for our community.
The Gowanda area has bounced back nicely from the 2009 flood. Civic improvements are being completed, and a new era of youthful optimism is being ushered in. Mayor McKeever is using that forward-looking vision to promote progress in Gowanda. She is the most experienced and best qualified candidate for mayor, and she merits the support of village voters on Tuesday.
Phil Palen is a Gowanda resident.