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The Town of Lancaster plans to seek a $100,000 federal grant to help pay for a planned skateboard and BMX bike park, officials said Monday.
If the town's application is successful, money from the federal Community Development Block Grant program would go toward the construction of a 30,000-square-foot skateboard and bike park in the town's 10-acre Keysa Park.
A group of volunteers is working to build the park in honor of Bryce Buchholz, a teenage bicyclist killed in May by a drunken driver, and the federal grant would bolster the group's fundraising efforts.
The skate and bike park boosters still must address numerous issues, including legal liability and security, but people involved in this effort say putting the facility in Keysa Park makes the most sense.
"We all agree that's a pretty good location," Councilman Mark S. Aquino said in an interview after Monday's Town Board meeting. "I think it would give the park a little bit of a spark."
The federal community-development program is meant to benefit people of low or moderate incomes, Sue Barnes, the town's grant-writing consultant, said at the work session that preceded Monday's board meeting. A neighborhood income survey determined the area surrounding Keysa Park met the program's criteria.
Town officials also considered applying for block-grant aid to buy a new van for its Senior Center or to pay for the rebuilding of curb cuts on town streets.
The center's current van is six years old and has about 156,000 miles on it, said Terrence D. McCracken, the general crew chief in the town Department of Parks, Recreation & Forestry. A replacement van with the required modifications could cost the town more than $50,000.
Barnes advised the Town Board to list two projects, ranked in order of priority, in its grant application. The town could receive up to $100,000 for each grant but is unlikely to receive more than one, she said.
Board members decided Monday, after a discussion at the work session with Barnes and McCracken, to rank the skate park first, perhaps in a joint application with the Village of Lancaster, and the senior van second.
The skate park would take up one-tenth of Keysa Park, which is within the village and already has a playground, outdoor pool, basketball and tennis courts and two baseball diamonds.
The ideal site for the skate park in Keysa Park already is occupied by a playground, which would have to be relocated within the park.
In a recent meeting with town and village officials and boosters of the skateboarding and biking park, McCracken raised several concerns about the operation of the park, but he declined to elaborate on those Monday.
One Lancaster resident, Tom Kaz- mierczak, raised a concern during the public-comment session at the board meeting about the town's financial responsibility if teens who aren't wearing the proper safety equipment injure themselves at the skate park.
Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli responded that it's impossible for the town to absolve itself of all liability, but it's his understanding that adding a skate park wouldn't appreciably increase the town's liability beyond what already exists for the playground, pool and other facilities at Keysa Park.
Volunteers already have raised more than $50,000 toward the estimated $150,000 cost of the skate park.
The Town Board plans to vote to authorize the block-grant application at its next board meeting this month because the application, which requires extensive documentation, is due by the end of October.

email: swatson@buffnews.com