Lancaster Village Board members support the construction of a skateboard and bike park at the town’s Keysa Park, but they aren’t ready to join town officials in seeking a $100,000 federal grant to help pay it.
Board members say they hope to obtain funding for the skate park through the state Assembly and, if this happens, put some of the federal Community Development Block Grant money toward other village needs.
The board voted Monday to put off action on the skate park grant application until they can discuss the issue with their counterparts in town government and get further details on the aid they’ve requested through Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak, D-Cheektowaga.
“We have to sit down and figure out which way is more beneficial,” Trustee Kenneth L. O’Brien III said after Monday’s Village Board meeting.
Efforts to build a skateboard and BMX park in Lancaster have widespread support in the village and town. The project is intended to honor Bryce Buchholz, a teenage BMX enthusiast who was killed in May by a drunken driver, and Bryce’s friends and family continue fundraising efforts that have brought in $55,000 to date.
“I’m going to take whatever I can get in terms of grant money,” Bill Buchholz, Bryce’s father, said in an interview after the meeting. “I think it would enhance the project.”
Monday’s vote came one week after Town Board members informally agreed to seek $100,000 through the federal program to help pay for the construction of a 30,000-square-foot skate park, a move that caught village officials by surprise.
Keysa Park, located in the village, was targeted because a skate park there would be eligible for block-grant funding.
The town and village are planning to submit a joint application to improve chances of winning a grant.
If applicants seek funding for more than one project, they must rank the projects in order of priority. The town is likely to list the skate park as its top priority and a new van for its senior center as second priority.
The Town Board must vote on the grant application by the end of the month.
The Village Board on Monday voted to support seeking grant money for the senior van but tabled a decision on the skate park application.
However, Trustee Edward M. Marki said in an interview today that the board will have to vote on the federal grant application again later this month because Monday’s vote took place before the Village Board held a required public hearing on the request.
O’Brien and Mayor Paul M. Maute said late Monday that village officials must reconcile their desire to see the skate park built with other pressing needs, such as the senior van and sidewalks that require replacing.
The skate park is the village’s highest priority, Marki said, but if the village can obtain state aid for the park some of the federal grant can be put toward other projects in Lancaster.
Even as village, town and state officials discuss grants for the skate park, a dedicated group of volunteers still is raising funds for the project, estimated to cost $150,000. Bill Buchholz said he hopes to break ground in the spring, even if the facility has to be built in phases.
Monday’s board meeting was the first with Paul M. Maute presiding and William G. Cansdale Jr., the mayor from 1993 until Oct. 1, taking on his new role as superintendent of public works.
The board appointed O’Brien to fill Maute’s post as deputy mayor, and Maute said later he expects the board to fill its vacancy prior to the March village elections.