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American Rescue Plan and community block grants give new life to Lancaster playgrounds and sewers

Sewers can make a crappy news story, but are vital for everyday life. American Rescue Plan funds were used to fix problematic sewer lines in Lancaster.

LANCASTER, N.Y. — Spring construction season and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has declared a few early victories.

Poloncarz was joined by Lancaster officials along with other county commissioners to unveil a new playground and upgraded sewer lines. 

The two projects were funded by community development block grants and the American Rescue Plan.

"Maintaining sewers and having to go in there and fix them, especially older sanitary sewers is not an inexpensive thing and it can really cause problems with regards to other infrastructure," Poloncarz said. 

Over $212,000 of ARP funds were used to install 500-feet of new sewer lines on Harold Place. 

"We're so grateful for funding like this," Lancaster Mayor Lynne Ruda said. "Sewers are not the most exciting projects, but they're so important to our community."

Additionally, community development block grants were used to improve the West Drullard playground. 

"It's a beautiful playground, an example of how we can invest county dollars and federal dollars," Poloncarz said. 

Mayor Ruda credits the county for the recent development successes, after the county provided the catalyst to remove the old BOCES building in the village center. 

"When we receive $650,000 in community development block grant funding from Erie County, they're the first ones that realized our potential that helped us get rid of our foundation of a building that was part of an urban renewal project that really made our downtown stagnant for the past 50 years," Ruda said. 

Since then, the village has seen a lot of redevelopment and new businesses open up. 

"We are very proud that the Erie County Legislature has approved the millions of dollars that went throughout Erie County," Erie County Legislator Fran Todaro said. "I was very happy to advocate for here for the village of Lancaster to make sure that when I received the list that I can see what was actually going to be funded of those dollars."

Lancaster has seen an influx of additional funding for beautification projects as well, including $4.5 million from New York State. 

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