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Thread: Park land

  1. #16
    Member gorja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaddMatt View Post
    Mark,

    I bought into that idea and worked unsuccessfully throughout my term to bring it to reality. With the schools restricting our access to their fields, pools and courts more and more each year, the hope was to find/build a facility that would be able to satisfy those needs as well as future opportunities. A facility that could be used year round by over a dozen different leagues and groups through the day and into the evening. I toured a number of options and found one that was close to perfect but I did not have enough support on the board to get it done.

    I agree with the supervisor that we need more athletic fields for our growing leagues. There are additional opportunities including hosting tournaments that would also generate income. I believe grant opportunities were and are still available to build out such facilities (either indoor or outdoor) although I don't believe those can be used for the purchase of the land.

    If the land discussed earlier in this thread is in the running, it has a lot going for it. Broadway can handle the traffic, no floodplains, already cleared so the turnaround time would be quicker.

    One of the obstacles last time we discussed this a few years ago was that the town can't just buy the land but it had to put out a RFP of some sort listing the requirements and seeking options. If I remember correctly the results last time were not in the optimal locations, had flood plain issues and required clearing.

    Matt
    Matt, I know you were addressing Mark but I do agree with you regarding the need and the well suited characteristics of the particular parcel.
    If I remember correctly but I do a have a foggy brain that there was a grant that the town should apply for knowing that they would most likely not be awarded it. But applying for that grant and not receiving it would help in getting a different grant.

    Does that ring any bell?

    Have a GREAT day,
    Georgia Schlager

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    Matt, I know you were addressing Mark but I do agree with you regarding the need and the well suited characteristics of the particular parcel.
    If I remember correctly but I do a have a foggy brain that there was a grant that the town should apply for knowing that they would most likely not be awarded it. But applying for that grant and not receiving it would help in getting a different grant.

    Does that ring any bell?
    Gorja,

    I believe you are correct. From my recollection, the grant could NOT be used to purchase land but only to develop it. I began requesting that the board apply for that grant in my second year so that by my 4th year we might have a shot at getting the same grant or another. The property I was excited about for indoor courts, pool, etc already had a building on site so that was a leg up as remodeling could get underway once it was purchased.

    Unfortunately, as in many things town board related politics ultimately shot it down (in my opinion). After the fallout from the colecraft purchase, there wasn't a lot of political support to purchase a large building that wasn't going to be used right away (while waiting for the grant), didn't have all the funding in place and/ or that wasn't deemed necessary.

    It is unfortunate because I see the constraints the rec dept has to work with in scheduling leagues & lessons in buildings they don't own and with competing schedules they have no control over. A town owned facility would also be used for other events, rentals, leagues, and/or competitions providing additional revenue and exposure.

    Anyway, it appears the new supervisor and board are taking another swing at improving our athletic fields and recreations areas which IS a good thing. I hope this first foray is only the beginning!

    Matt

  3. #18
    Member Neubs24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaddMatt View Post
    Gorja,

    I believe you are correct. From my recollection, the grant could NOT be used to purchase land but only to develop it. I began requesting that the board apply for that grant in my second year so that by my 4th year we might have a shot at getting the same grant or another. The property I was excited about for indoor courts, pool, etc already had a building on site so that was a leg up as remodeling could get underway once it was purchased.

    Unfortunately, as in many things town board related politics ultimately shot it down (in my opinion). After the fallout from the colecraft purchase, there wasn't a lot of political support to purchase a large building that wasn't going to be used right away (while waiting for the grant), didn't have all the funding in place and/ or that wasn't deemed necessary.

    It is unfortunate because I see the constraints the rec dept has to work with in scheduling leagues & lessons in buildings they don't own and with competing schedules they have no control over. A town owned facility would also be used for other events, rentals, leagues, and/or competitions providing additional revenue and exposure.

    Anyway, it appears the new supervisor and board are taking another swing at improving our athletic fields and recreations areas which IS a good thing. I hope this first foray is only the beginning!

    Matt
    For what its worth I've read that the Tonawanda Aquatics Center is a money pit for the them if you were thinking along those lines. I don't know if any other towns have something similar.

    That's too much for Emminger. He said the town, still adapting to the loss of its largest taxpayer – the former Huntley Generating Station – already loses hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on its Aquatic and Fitness Center.
    https://buffalonews.com/2019/12/09/c...reation-plans/

  4. #19
    Member gorja's Avatar
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    I agree Neubs. Fields are what is needed. Isn't the youth bureau and senior center near each other? The young and the old could comingle now. It am I mistaken regarding their location

    Have a GREAT day,
    Georgia Schlager

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    I agree Neubs. Fields are what is needed. Isn't the youth bureau and senior center near each other? The young and the old could co-mingle now. It am I mistaken regarding their location
    Yep, they share a parking lot. From all accounts both of those departments are well served by their buildings.

    The issue that I bring up has to do with the sports not played outside for a few months a year but rather inside for 6+months a year. Currently we rent the facilities at various Lancaster schools for indoor activities. The school district has informed us that due to increased sports participation by students at all levels, availability of their facilities is getting harder to come by. Therefore the basketball, volleyball, wrestling and other rec dept leagues in addition to swimming and other lessons are restricted to shorter seasons and hours/days. This situation has only gotten worse in the past decade.

    I thought the town should consider adding an indoor facility that could be used during the day for seniors or very young children programming (something we can't currently accommodate) as well as in the evenings and weekends for the various lessons, practices and leagues for the hundreds (thousands) of participants of the rec programs. My vision would not only have had indoor courts but also a walking track, smaller activity rooms and rec dept offices/storage. Down the road possibly the addition of year 'round swimming facilities and/or other additions would also have been considered. A facility like this could be rented out for parties, for practice space or tournaments providing additional revenues for the town. More importantly, the rec dept wouldn't be limited on what they could offer based on someone else's schedule of availability.

    I don't see it as an either/ or scenario. I believe that we should continue to look for parkland that can be developed for the various leagues that need it. But these parks should not solely be for the use of these leagues which are not town run or sponsored. There should be additional amenities like walking trails, workout stations, and more. Otherwise, are we just purchasing & maintaining at taxpayer expense the land for a select few groups to use for a short time each year? The town does not offer youth baseball, softball, football, soccer or lacrosse leagues. Those are all run independently with their own elected rep boards. And these organization, by all accounts, are run well and save the taxpayers the cost of adding personnel to the rec dept to oversee and organize.

    Sorry, I may have started to ramble a little there... Great thread and glad I could contribute

    Matt

  6. #21
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    Hey Matt:

    I appreciate your insight and concern that any money the town spends for recreation should be distributed to allow for community use. What needs to be defined here is town funding and use.

    For at least ten years the sponsored summer baseball, soccer, football and lacrosse leagues have been pressing the town on the need for more playing fields – and for myriad sound reasons. The town agrees and unfortunately has considered several land purchases that did not accommodate their needs.

    The town has yet to define whether property purchased will be used for playing fields only, or whether the land will be developed as a ‘park’.

    Over the years it has been ingrained in us that we need playing fields – period. I agree with that stance especially considering the land purchase and development would primarily come from Recreation Filing Fees and whatever grants available. If we are adding playing fields to primarily accommodate sponsored athletic leagues, that should pony-up money in the project as well and share in the maintenance of the operation.

    We have yet to hear an estimate of purpose and cost for any project. What do you estimate the cost would be for an inside facility?

    Regardless of preferred project, a permissive referendum should be allowed to involve community voice.

  7. #22
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    [QUOTE=Lee Chowaniec;1911440}

    Over the years it has been ingrained in us that we need playing fields – period. I agree with that stance especially considering the land purchase and development would primarily come from Recreation Filing Fees and whatever grants available. If we are adding playing fields to primarily accommodate sponsored athletic leagues, that should pony-up money in the project as well and share in the maintenance of the operation.

    We have yet to hear an estimate of purpose and cost for any project. What do you estimate the cost would be for an inside facility?

    Regardless of preferred project, a permissive referendum should be allowed to involve community voice.[/QUOTE]

    Lee,

    Outside fields require constant maintenance and that part is not funded by grants or rec filing fees. Who is going to mow acres of land every week? Ensure it has been watered, weed treated, prepped for the year, etc? This may require another 1 or possibly 2 employees to maintain the acres of parkland for the relatively short season (3 months +- ). That being said, these organizations are made up mostly of town residents and the participants are as well....although at least some accept children from outside the town as well.

    If land for soccer, football and lacrosse fields is purchased, it is relatively limited in its' use other than for those sports. The land around the fields could be used for walking trails, exercise stations, and more but the fields themselves are pretty much just for the use of those sports.

    My push for the indoor facility focused on the programs, lessons and leagues the town rec dept runs year 'round as well as the potential to rent out for parties, practices and other leagues when there was availability. Any additional labor required would be more along of the line of a cleaner/custodian and not a laborer. There would also be work year 'round for this employee as the facility would be used 12 months out of the year.

    The indoor project never got far enough along to get to the budget phase. It would be highly dependent on what was purchased.... vacant land, land with a suitable building, etc. as well as the amenities inside.

    In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that I am not against the purchase and development of land for these clubs to practice and play. Thousands of town residents benefit from these leagues. I also believe, however, that the town would greatly benefit from a multi-use indoor facility to host their own rec dept activities daily throughout the year.

    Matt

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaddMatt View Post
    Lee,

    Outside fields require constant maintenance and that part is not funded by grants or rec filing fees. Who is going to mow acres of land every week? Ensure it has been watered, weed treated, prepped for the year, etc? This may require another 1 or possibly 2 employees to maintain the acres of parkland for the relatively short season (3 months +- ). That being said, these organizations are made up mostly of town residents and the participants are as well....although at least some accept children from outside the town as well.

    If land for soccer, football and lacrosse fields is purchased, it is relatively limited in its' use other than for those sports. The land around the fields could be used for walking trails, exercise stations, and more but the fields themselves are pretty much just for the use of those sports.

    My push for the indoor facility focused on the programs, lessons and leagues the town rec dept runs year 'round as well as the potential to rent out for parties, practices and other leagues when there was availability. Any additional labor required would be more along of the line of a cleaner/custodian and not a laborer. There would also be work year 'round for this employee as the facility would be used 12 months out of the year.

    The indoor project never got far enough along to get to the budget phase. It would be highly dependent on what was purchased.... vacant land, land with a suitable building, etc. as well as the amenities inside.

    In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that I am not against the purchase and development of land for these clubs to practice and play. Thousands of town residents benefit from these leagues. I also believe, however, that the town would greatly benefit from a multi-use indoor facility to host their own rec dept activities daily throughout the year.

    Matt
    Thanks for sharing and providing information the public does not have access to.

    As stated in my numerous other posts: Throughout the last 10 years (at least) the town has only spoken on the need for more outdoor athletic fields – not on the need for a facility to accommodate for the activities you speak on. Athletic fields have now become ‘Parkland’ and it has yet to be defined the exact nature of land use. Again, the need for a public hearing and a permission referendum to allow the public to have input on what they want to spend money on.

    Lancaster is a ‘full-service town’ with its own police force. Its debt has been increasing over the years and is estimated at $30 million. The town’s primary duty is to protect the safety of its residents and to provide an environment befitting its quality of life and wellbeing.

    The public is still in the dark regarding grant availability and use, who pays the difference, whether the athletic leagues have any skin in the game, and operation and maintenance costs. More playing fields for now, I'm in! No Taj Mahal!

    While you advocate for a grandiose building costing millions, when the town was considering purchasing land at Lake and William Street for fields, a track, shelters, etc., it was originally thought that portable Johns would suffice in place of a restroom building with it's associated costs. That changed in a hurry when some of us objected.

    The public has much to hear and learn about this project.

  9. #24
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that I am not against the purchase and development of land for these clubs to practice and play. Thousands of town residents benefit from these leagues. I also believe, however, that the town would greatly benefit from a multi-use indoor facility to host their own rec dept activities daily throughout the year.
    What are the actual numbers that currently use what the town already has?

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