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Thread: Depew-Lancaster Baseball League updates Town of Lancaster

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    Depew-Lancaster Baseball League updates Town of Lancaster

    Depew-Lancaster Baseball League president Paul Cumbo announced at the town board work session that the League requested the meeting to update the board on the progress made to ensure the board that their financials were in order to move forward and ease any concerns of the risk involved in their meeting their obligations to the town.

    David Mansell, League director of travel, presented a detailed PowerPoint update on the Town of Lancaster practice facility at Westwood Park:

    Building Layout

    The project will be owned by the Town of Lancaster, but operated and paid for by Lancaster-Depew Baseball (LDB) as per a legal contract negotiated b/w LDB and the Town of Lancaster.

    The building will be located on the south side of the park just in from the Pavement Road entrance to the park (southwest of the pond). No wetlands will be impacted. Total square footage approximately 16,000 – playing area 11,500 sq. ft. and 2,100 sq. ft. for the upper-level mezzanine.

    There will be turf field 120’ x 100’ in size with a 24’ high net ceiling. There will be twelve retractable batting cages; field can be configured to be wide open, half field with six cages or any combination in between. There will be two bathrooms, a conference room, a storage facility and an upper-level mezzanine for parent viewing or waiting to make pick up.

    LDB has an average of over 850 players including 65 house teams and 15 travel teams. The current space is the minimum required to provide each team 2 hours of cage time and ½ hour of field time per week. LDB currently has almost 200 L/D players playing baseball year round. Most players/teams pay $300 - $400 annual membership fees at facilities outside Lancaster for fewer hours and lesser facilities than what LDB will have.

    The building will also be made available for other activities and for Town of Lancaster resident use.

    Estimated Project Cost

    Mansell declared that the building cost is higher than what was initially projected because the building has increased in size to accommodate minimum needs. He presented two sets of numbers, one reflecting low end to high end costs:

    Building: from $990,000 to $1,240,000

    Parking and site work: from $150,000 to $200,000

    Cages/Turfs/Equipment: from $70,000 to $85,000

    Legal fees: from $15,000 to $20,000

    A&E costs: from $50,000 to $55,000

    Total costs: from $1.25 million to $1.6 million

    Current Assets

    LDB has $110,000 in pledged donations (contracts signed). At this time, the donors wish to not have their donation amounts listed. They include Joe Basil, Brown Chiari, Russ Salvatore and Intense Milk. The League will not be using their fund balance reserves to pay off the debt. Other businesses have contacted LDB on becoming donors.

    Annual Payment to Lancaster

    Even when considering the high end project cost of $1.6 million, after subtracting the $100,000 league deposit, and leaving a balance of $1.5 million, and with an anticipated 3% loan interest rate, the annual repayment to the town over 15 years would be $124,800.

    How LDB intends to met loan obligation

    $30,000 – Travel and House players with membership; 200 players @ $150/player for full year access (much lower than other like facilities). A year round membership entitles every house team and travel team a minimum of 2 hours of cages time (2 cages per team) per week and ½ hour field time each week during the highest use time. If the $150 annual membership fee is too difficult for a family to manage, there are viable options such as fundraisers to help pay off the costs.

    $25,000 – Secured sponsorships – Annual Revenue/$$ from “Donor Wall of Fame”

    $20,000 – Change in fundraiser from selling 45 chocolate bars to selling three “coupon booklets” through Funding Zone Co. Profits increase from 50% to 90% with no added costs (based on 800 players)

    $11,250 – Additional year round membership to non travel players or non LDB player (additional 75 memberships @ $150 for members and $250 for non LDB members

    $8,000 - $10 per player for building use fee (based on $800 players)

    $10,000 – Current revenue spent on indoor space; average over past three years

    $10,000 – Annual league social fundraiser profit (average over past three years

    $5,000 – Concession sales/vending machine profit (anticipated based on Coke and Intense Milk contracts) – low estimate

    $2,000 – Savings on current rental fee spent by LDB for storage space on Walden Avenue

    $26,000 – Building income: rentals to non LDB players, instruction lessons, clinics and camp income

    $146,250 – Total Anticipated Annual Revenue to Support Facility

    According to Mansell, the above generated revenue numbers are low estimates and should not be considered risk.

    Costs vs. Revenues

    Building costs will be separate from the LDB baseline costs. LDB will not be using any of its current assets ($90,000) to pay off the building. The $146,250 in revenues is locked in. Another $10,000 in anticipated additional revenue is under-estimated. Cost of additional insurance and maintenance = $10,000.

    $146,250 - Anticipated annual revenue to support facility (low ball)

    $126,800 – Annual repayment to Town of Lancaster

    $19,450 – Anticipated annual profit (could be used to prepay Town)

    Succession Plan

    According to Mansell, the following is the plan to ensure payment to the town is guaranteed for the next 15 years:
    • 100% of the annual revenue is guaranteed with usage fees, annual sponsors (e.g. Mr. Salvatore), fundraisers, and rental agreements under long term contracts.
    • A savings account with over $100,000 to cover unexpected expenses or drop in revenue.
    • Prepayment to the town to have the bond paid for in ten years total is not an unrealistic goal.
    • Six board positions specifically designated to proper running of the building.

    Questions for the LDB reps at the work session

    Councilman Mark Aquino voiced concern should the membership enrollment drop in the league as it has with the school district. Mansell replied that the non-profit organization has no boundaries and can fill open space with players and teams from other municipality. “We are already projecting our revenue numbers down from the 850 kids we have to 800 to be conservative,” said Mansell.

    Aquino also requested someone from the town look at the financial numbers as presented especially since the projected costs have risen significantly. “We just want to make sure your numbers are there, because obviously if your numbers go from $1.2 million to $1.8 million that is going to impact your organization in having to raise more money. I want to make sure we have solid numbers before we make a commitment.

    Town Engineer Robert Harris interjected that LDB does not have detailed drawings available at present. LDB replied that they have had several bids on the project and are comfortable the numbers are credible. “If the $1.2 million or $1.4 million numbers are incorrect we will have to make some tough decisions and possibly downsize the project.”

    Supervisor Dino Fudoli expressed he had serious initial concerns about director succession and whether futher directors would be as commited to making the project successful. His concerns were eased by the detailed presentation.

    Town Obligation
    • Land donation
    • An estimated $40,000 to $60,000 for water and electricity hook ups that comes out of the Parks & Recreation fees and not out of the budget – no cost to taxpayer.
    • The town will provide utility costs as it does for the Ponytails League.

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    Originally posted by Lee Chowaniec:
    Aquino also requested someone from the town look at the financial numbers as presented especially since the projected costs have risen significantly. “We just want to make sure your numbers are there, because obviously if your numbers go from $1.2 million to $1.8 million that is going to impact your organization in having to raise more money. I want to make sure we have solid numbers before we make a commitment.
    Looking at the financial numbers should be an automatic part of the process not something needed to be requested from Aquino.
    They need to go back the 3 years that are referred to in computing the revenue numbers forecast. Are they "sound" or "iffy"?


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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    Looking at the financial numbers should be an automatic part of the process not something needed to be requested from Aquino.
    They need to go back the 3 years that are referred to in computing the revenue numbers forecast. Are they "sound" or "iffy"?
    The goal posts keep changing. While all the town board members may favor this project they understand the risk factors and are doing due diligence to ensure LDB has credible numbers to meet their obligation. Councilman Aquino's request was appropriate and Supervisor Fudoli's closing comments on voicing concerns that in the future the organization have directors that continue with the same commitment are appropriate as well.

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    I love the idea of having this type of sports complex here at the Westwood Park. The more we have for our kids that require any type of physical activity and parent involvement-is a great idea.

    However, with that said I wonder if this complex is too big? Westwood Park is not that big of a park and how are they going to manage the traffic. It is rough now as it is.

    That estimated $40,000 to $60,000 dollars for the utility aspect of this project--is this yearly or a long range plan? Is this amount really in the fund that comes from the rec & parks department? How much do we have in this fund?

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    Working mans translation - if we can we will and we hope it happens !

    Home owners Tax dollars will be used.

    1) No detailed building plan submitted(Town Engineer Robert Harris interjected that LDB does not have detailed drawings)

    2)• 100% of the annual revenue is guaranteed with usage fees, annual sponsors , fundraisers, and rental agreements under long term contracts. Well -sort of - "LDB has $110,000 in pledged donations (contracts signed)" -Pledges to help raise funds are not "Guaranteed" by the sponsors. They come with conditions and unless its written otherwise they are Dependant on "Ability to pay" - theres always an out built in. Not saying they wont try - not saying each and every sponsor has anything but our residents best interests at heart.

    3) "Usage Fees" are just that - based on monies collected from users. There is no such thing in todays economy as "Guaranteed usage fees".

    4)"An estimated $40,000 to $60,000 for water and electricity hook ups that comes out of the Parks & Recreation fees and not out of the budget – no cost to taxpayer" - Misleading at best - the Parks and Recreation fees are collected from tax payers for use of our Town Provided/Parks and Recreation Department programs - so it will reduce monies now used for other Departmental expenditures.

    So eventually it will also affect their Budget - unless the costs of these tax funded programs have been actually turning a "Profit" and in that case home owners are being over taxed - why isn't this "Profit" used to offset tax payers/home owners/user fee payers burden?

    5) "Six board positions specifically designated to proper running of the building" and the Town(Home owners tax dollars) will pay utilities.

    Are these six Board Members "compensated" in any way - are they going to be cleaning and daily maintenance for free? -
    Last edited by 4248; March 20th, 2013 at 08:01 PM.
    #Dems play musical chairs + patronage and nepotism = entitlement !

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4248 View Post
    Working mans translation - if we can we will and we hope it happens !

    Home owners Tax dollars will be used.


    1) No detailed building plan submitted(Town Engineer Robert Harris interjected that LDB does not have detailed drawings)

    2)• 100% of the annual revenue is guaranteed with usage fees, annual sponsors , fundraisers, and rental agreements under long term contracts. Well -sort of - "LDB has $110,000 in pledged donations (contracts signed)" -Pledges to help raise funds are not "Guaranteed" by the sponsors. They come with conditions and unless its written otherwise they are Dependant on "Ability to pay" - theres always an out built in. Not saying they wont try - not saying each and every sponsor has anything but our residents best interests at heart.

    3) "Usage Fees" are just that - based on monies collected from users. There is no such thing in todays economy as "Guaranteed usage fees".

    4)"An estimated $40,000 to $60,000 for water and electricity hook ups that comes out of the Parks & Recreation fees and not out of the budget – no cost to taxpayer" - Misleading at best - the Parks and Recreation fees are collected from tax payers for use of our Town Provided/Parks and Recreation Department programs - so it will reduce monies now used for other Departmental expenditures.

    So eventually it will also affect their Budget - unless the costs of these tax funded programs have been actually turning a "Profit" and in that case home owners are being over taxed - why isn't this "Profit" used to offset tax payers/home owners/user fee payers burden?

    5) "Six board positions specifically designated to proper running of the building" and the Town(Home owners tax dollars) will pay utilities.

    Are these six Board Members "compensated" in any way - are they going to be cleaning and daily maintenance for free? -
    I am firmly in agreement here with Mr. 4248. I think this project and the people proposing it are very misleading. I can forsee the town, recreation department and tax payers being saddled with this project when the adequate funding does not come through. The baseball group will ultimately hold a gun to the board members heads as they have a platform of supplying funding for similiar projects (pony tails, jr. redskins, etc.). When the town board denies this request, the baseball group will speak of how the town board does not support their group, favoritism, etc. I am still baffled about why little league players need year round training anyways. As I remember it, wasn't little league reserved for the summer months. I am firmly opposed to this project.

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    I find it interesting that some posters have paid little attention:

    • To the past administration wasting millions of dollars on the Colecraft Building fiasco

    • Had little to say on the past IDA free-wheeling approvals that cost the town and other municipalities millions of dollars of taxpayer money

    • The current million dollars that the IDA will pass out to the senior home developments

    • The concern on the current $2.5 million school budget shortfall despite the spending of $10 million in fund balance and debt reserve rainy day funds (taxpayer monies) and that the simple fact that the school district will not be receiving anywhere near the state aid increase to cover the $2.5 million

    • Doubled the budget from $1.6 million to $3.2 million for the town hall improvement/reconstruction project

    but voice serious concerns about the $40,000 -$60,000 the town will have to spend to install water and utility lines and should there be a LDB default; and not the positive that the building is the town’s and someone else is paying it off.

    Should the LDB default, which all town board member believe is highly unlikely and where the LDB has declared there would be $100,000 in reserves to offset revenue shortages for whatever reason, the building would be town owned and can be used to generate like revenues; and/or others.

    Keep in mind that no bond resolution has been passed yet. The only resolution was on the agreement forged between the town and LDB to consider such project as a public good. It was approved on November 19th and read:

    WHEREAS, the Town of Lancaster operates and maintains public parks and recreational programs for the benefit of the Town’s residents, and

    WHEREAS, the Lancaster Depew Baseball League, Inc., has served the Town’s youth for many years by operating a little league program, and

    WHEREAS, the Town and the Lancaster Depew Baseball League, Inc., have discussed entering into a partnership to further enhance the recreational programs available to Town residents through the construction and operation of an indoor baseball training facility at the Town’s Westwood Park; and

    WHEREAS, the Lancaster Depew Baseball League, Inc., through a partnership agreement with the Town, will commit to providing financial and other support to the Town for the construction and operation of such a facility.

    The costs have increased and the town is doing due diligence to ensure the check will be in the mail.

    It is the developers who pay the Parks & Recreation fees. It is public money in that the residents are the town. That said using the money from the Parks & Rec. department for this project does not impact the budget and the tax obligation that results.

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    I'm of the mind that the Pony Tails found their own financing, why can't the LDBL do the same?


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    Quote Originally Posted by gorja View Post
    I'm of the mind that the Pony Tails found their own financing, why can't the LDBL do the same?
    Lee-

    No one is saying L/D Baseball can't build their own facility, I just believe they should not be building it on town property or using any town funding. We are at a stage where fiscally responsible decisions must be made and with that comes hard decisions. Supervisor Fudoli was elected for this very aspect and I do not believe this project falls on to his platform. Just because the town board approved of similiar projects in the past, does not mean this one is justified or warranted. I still don't have reasoning why L/D players need their own personal year round training facility when our town offers 2 Boys & Girls Clubs, school district gyms, LHS fieldhouse, St. Mary's High School fieldhouse, etc. To me there is no justification why our town should be subsidizing this project in any fashion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmckay716 View Post
    Lee-

    No one is saying L/D Baseball can't build their own facility, I just believe they should not be building it on town property or using any town funding. We are at a stage where fiscally responsible decisions must be made and with that comes hard decisions. Supervisor Fudoli was elected for this very aspect and I do not believe this project falls on to his platform. Just because the town board approved of similiar projects in the past, does not mean this one is justified or warranted. I still don't have reasoning why L/D players need their own personal year round training facility when our town offers 2 Boys & Girls Clubs, school district gyms, LHS fieldhouse, St. Mary's High School fieldhouse, etc. To me there is no justification why our town should be subsidizing this project in any fashion.
    dmkay, I agree with everything you posted here. The justification on why we need yet another project like this can be made by anyone whose preference's are personal. We are talking about what makes sense today.

    Would this complex obstruct that beautiful pond upon entering the park? I love driving into Westwood and my first visual is that pond and the serenity of it all. Now when that complex is complete, I wonder what I will see first?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmckay716 View Post
    I am firmly in agreement here with Mr. 4248. I think this project and the people proposing it are very misleading. I can forsee the town, recreation department and tax payers being saddled with this project when the adequate funding does not come through. The baseball group will ultimately hold a gun to the board members heads as they have a platform of supplying funding for similiar projects (pony tails, jr. redskins, etc.). When the town board denies this request, the baseball group will speak of how the town board does not support their group, favoritism, etc. I am still baffled about why little league players need year round training anyways. As I remember it, wasn't little league reserved for the summer months. I am firmly opposed to this project.
    I agree that you, 4248 and gorja have made some very valid points in areas of concern and the town’s role in the project while being fiscally responsibility.

    There are no absolutes on certainty, questions need answering on reasons for the town’s involvement and financial assistance, and needs for such a facility weighed against its impact on park aesthetics.

    Were these concerns considered at the several meetings the town had with the LDB? Yes they were.

    Are there residents who also question the need of a skate park at Keysa Park and what it will do to the environment and aesthetics, yes there are. The Village is donating land there as well.

    The skate park supporters and the Ponytails did come up with the money prior to developing the land. That is the elephant in the room and cause for concern. At the same time all Lancaster Town Board members are supportive of the building and operation by the LDB. As the project has increased in costs, the town board is asking to see past records to ensure the proposed numbers that the LDB is proposing in paying off the loan obligation are valid. LDB is paying to have the building constructed and once the loan is paid off the town takes ownership.

    It is unfortunate that others were not at the work sessions to voice their concerns. I was the only resident to do so. I have no idea if the town board members read Speakup so I will send a copy of the concerns and comments posted here to Supervisor Fudoli and ask him to share them with the other board members.

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    Bottom line tax dollars will be spent.

    Lee was vary careful in the wording of this sentence, "It is the developers who pay the Parks & Recreation fees. It is public money in that the residents are the town. That said using the money from the Parks & Rec. department for this project does not impact the budget and the tax obligation that results"

    1) Yes "Developers pay this fee" indirectly - that cost is built into the cost of each home built - there by passed onto the taxpayers.

    2) You stated, "using the money from the Parks & Rec. department for this project does not impact the budget and the tax obligation that results"

    Your statement is correct as that income/fees collected does not impact the Parks&Recreation Budget - in as far as redirecting it wont increase their "Budget Request" - yet it will reduce or end whatever that money has been used for.

    So unless your saying that the items being paid for now can be eliminated with no consequence - then thats not a fair statement.

    Unless all these years that money has never been spent - if thats the case - again it should have been used to reduce the cost of the Parks & Recreation Services. Where did that money go?

    You chirp about some people not commenting about other issues or going to the Board with concerns - that was boarding on bullying. You do have a right to express yourself here and there(Town Board). We share that ability and some don't feel the Board hears us.

    Last point - yes the "Politicians,County,City,Town and Village" read whats posted on this and other sites. But its nice of your to offer to restate it to the Town Board Members for us!

    Bottom line tax dollars will be spent.

    PS another point seemingly ignored - If they built else where there would be taxes paid on the sale of land and then taxes paid yearly to the Town - so under this agreement we loose tax revenue as well.
    Last edited by 4248; March 21st, 2013 at 07:59 PM.
    #Dems play musical chairs + patronage and nepotism = entitlement !

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    Is this a wise investment

    I am new to the speak up on line forum, but this particular issue is important to me.

    I have no agenda here- The Lancaster-Depew little league (LDLL)is a fine orginization that has provided youth baseball in the area for many years. My concern is the Town playing as a banker to construct this facility for them. My concerns are listed below.

    1. Based on the estimates, the cost to construct will be in the $1.2 to $1.5 million dollar range. If LDLL had gone to a bank or a financial institution for a commercial loan, most banks would want at least a 20% investment from the borrower. An unproven new company , which LDLL would be considered, they would probably want 30%. That equates to $240,000-$360,000 investment by the borrower on the $1.2 million dollar number.The banks do this to minimize their liability and insure the borrower has capital invested. At this point LDLL is only commiting $100,000. Again at the $1.2 million number that is only 8.3%. If they had gone to a bank , I am sure that would not be considered for a loan-I am sure that is why they are coming to the Town.

    2.The officers of the LDLL, while I am sure are hard working volunteers,have NO experience in running this type of operation.In addition , in these type of orginizations. the officers normally turn over every few years.Yet we are considering giving a start up orginization that level of a loan. The town already provides many resourcs to them-diamonds that are cut and lined, some lighted ,for games and practice. Indoor training facilities are something the town should not be involved in.

    3.If the town did this, how could they deny any other orginization- Soccer,Lacrosse,Music Drama programs the same type of loan for their own facility. The lending of money to any orginization is not the job of town government. Town government does not have the expertise to be in that type of work.

    4.While I do not feel it is an issue that the town give them the land, I am against the town being their banker. In addition, even if they built the facility with private money- any maintenence/utilities/insurance should be covered by the LDLL

    5.Private business has proven they do a much better job at this- their are already locations like Sahlens, Epic,The Indoor sports park at Eastern Hills and other that provide this type of practice loacation. When government gets involved by funding an orginazation like LDLL for their own facility, it takes business away from current businesses who pay taxes already and have made their own investment in their facilities.

    6.If they defaulted on the loan- what is the town left with- a facility that they now own, will now have to maintain and will add cost to the taxpayers of Lancaster. LDLL has no other assets the Town could go after to try and get the loan paid off.

    7 I am not trying to create an issue but the independence of some key Town Staffers and their input on this have to be questioned. The Director of Administration and Finance for the town has children who play in this league.How objective can he be on this decision, and my assumption is this type of financing and bonding goes directly through his office.


    I have no issue with LDLL. My issue is government being a banker, financing a highly risky project and being involved in something they have no place being involved in. I ask the Town board consider this in their decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the question View Post
    I am new to the speak up on line forum, but this particular issue is important to me.

    I have no agenda here- The Lancaster-Depew little league (LDLL)is a fine orginization that has provided youth baseball in the area for many years. My concern is the Town playing as a banker to construct this facility for them. My concerns are listed below.

    1. Based on the estimates, the cost to construct will be in the $1.2 to $1.5 million dollar range. If LDLL had gone to a bank or a financial institution for a commercial loan, most banks would want at least a 20% investment from the borrower. An unproven new company , which LDLL would be considered, they would probably want 30%. That equates to $240,000-$360,000 investment by the borrower on the $1.2 million dollar number.The banks do this to minimize their liability and insure the borrower has capital invested. At this point LDLL is only commiting $100,000. Again at the $1.2 million number that is only 8.3%. If they had gone to a bank , I am sure that would not be considered for a loan-I am sure that is why they are coming to the Town.

    2.The officers of the LDLL, while I am sure are hard working volunteers,have NO experience in running this type of operation.In addition , in these type of orginizations. the officers normally turn over every few years.Yet we are considering giving a start up orginization that level of a loan. The town already provides many resourcs to them-diamonds that are cut and lined, some lighted ,for games and practice. Indoor training facilities are something the town should not be involved in.

    3.If the town did this, how could they deny any other orginization- Soccer,Lacrosse,Music Drama programs the same type of loan for their own facility. The lending of money to any orginization is not the job of town government. Town government does not have the expertise to be in that type of work.

    4.While I do not feel it is an issue that the town give them the land, I am against the town being their banker. In addition, even if they built the facility with private money- any maintenence/utilities/insurance should be covered by the LDLL

    5.Private business has proven they do a much better job at this- their are already locations like Sahlens, Epic,The Indoor sports park at Eastern Hills and other that provide this type of practice loacation. When government gets involved by funding an orginazation like LDLL for their own facility, it takes business away from current businesses who pay taxes already and have made their own investment in their facilities.

    6.If they defaulted on the loan- what is the town left with- a facility that they now own, will now have to maintain and will add cost to the taxpayers of Lancaster. LDLL has no other assets the Town could go after to try and get the loan paid off.

    7 I am not trying to create an issue but the independence of some key Town Staffers and their input on this have to be questioned. The Director of Administration and Finance for the town has children who play in this league.How objective can he be on this decision, and my assumption is this type of financing and bonding goes directly through his office.


    I have no issue with LDLL. My issue is government being a banker, financing a highly risky project and being involved in something they have no place being involved in. I ask the Town board consider this in their decision.
    Welcome to Speakup,

    You posed some very interesting questions regarding the funding of this sport complex project. I am in agreement with some of the questions you posed. I also agree with your point about the town being the banker of this project. You pose another good point about taking business away.

    It is risky, and I believe there are other further issues with this project other than the financial aspect. I agree that this is a nice thing to have, but you make some good arguments for us residents to ponder on.

    Thank you.

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    Good post, the question. Totally agree with you. What group would be next in line looking for a banking arrangement to
    build something for their group. Would that be the soccer league on the donated land in the gravelpit on Genesee St?


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