OLEAN, NY – Making Olean a desirable and usable space is Alderman Paul Gonzalez’s continued focus as he runs unopposed for a third term as the Ward 3 councilman. The incumbent will appear on the Democratic, Conservative and Independence party lines in Tuesday's general elections.
As Olean's Common Council president, chair of the council’s Operations Committee, vice chair of Public Safety and a member the Finance, Strategic Planning, Youth and Recreation committees, Gonzalez realizes the importance of making Olean a vibrant city for its residents and youth especially.
“I have friends and many people I know whose kids graduate high school and college and leave. They go to Rochester, Buffalo, or elsewhere, which is great, but it’s all because they don’t have the desire to stay here,” he said.
Gonzalez began his first-term in 2012 advocating for the York Street reconstruction project.
“York Street was in really bad shape,” Gonzalez said. “But after the project was finished, it became one of the most traveled streets that really improved the quality of life here in Olean.”
In addition to the York Street project, Gonzalez worked to secure funding and helped design and install new playgrounds at Franchot Park and Magnano Park in Ward 3.
“There were some real safety issues with the old, rundown equipment at the parks,” said Gonzalez. “But now there is more modern equipment that I’ve been able to see my kids and people in the area enjoy.”
The incumbent said his plans to continue to do the best for Olean include tackling urban blight, including the $98,000 added to this year’s budget for the demolition of decaying and damaged houses.
“If you have one rundown house, it really brings down the whole area,” said Gonzalez, also waiting to see the North Union Street project fulfilled.
“We have seen many great things come out of the North Union Street project, but things run and get going and there are tweaks and little things that weren’t expected come up along the way. I want to see the format and initiative to fix these things and spread that throughout the city,” Gonzalez said.
In 2002, Gonzalez earned his master’s degree from St. Bonaventure University. He is now a production planner at Dresser-Rand, where he has worked for six years between the Wellsville and Olean plants.
“I graduated from Bonaventure, and this is where my wife and I decided we wanted to plant our roots,” Gonzalez said. “I now have two kids, and I want to be involved."
He added, "We have the opportunity to make this city a place where more kids want to stay, and each decision I make is with Olean’s best intentions.”