Buffalo's Common Council has two fresh faces on it in the new year.
Mitch Nowakowski and Bryan Bollman were sworn in on New Year's Day. Nowakowski represents the Fillmore District, while Bollman now serves the residents of Lovejoy.
They succeed two retired, long-serving council members, David Franczyk and Richard Fontana, respectively.
Both council members are newcomers to elected office. Bollman said he can’t wait to hit the ground running on one of his main issues, improving Lovejoy’s business sector.
“I’m very interested in some opportunities for grants for business corridors,” said Bollman. “With the vibrant business corridors, we were able to do some things on Clinton Street and Lovejoy [Street]. I’m hoping to do that further down our district and attract new businesses to our business corridors and create that walkable community that everyone wants.”
Nowakowski’s election marks the first time an openly gay man will take a seat on the council and, like Bollman, the councilman wants to get going on combating major issues facing his residents.
“We need housing in the Broadway-Fillmore, and we need to tackle lead paint that has high zip codes in Broadway-Fillmore,” said Nowakowski. “And infrastructure, when you look at some of the deterioration of Broadway Fillmore and their sidewalks, we have people that are in Broadway Fillmore that can’t even access their own sidewalks because they’re so deteriorated.”
Nowakowski and Bollman will take to their seats for the first time in a full-council meeting when it convenes Tuesday, Jan. 7 .