The Lancaster Village Board on Monday voted to request federal block grants to help pay for two projects in the village – replacing damaged sidewalks and curb cuts and building a skate park in the Town of Lancaster’s Keysa Park.
Village officials will seek either $50,000 or $100,000 to pay for new sidewalks and curb cuts in a designated section of the village and $100,000 in a joint grant application with their town counterparts to help pay for the proposed skateboarding and biking park, Trustee Kenneth L. O’Brien III said after the board meeting.
The vote on the two-part grant application came after several speakers urged village trustees to support the skate park as a project that will benefit teen skateboarders and BMX riders and the community as a whole.
“We just really want the skate park. And we’ve been waiting for, like, a really long time for it,” said Emily Handy, 15, a skateboarder and Lancaster High School sophomore, who spoke at a public hearing Monday as about 15 of her peers, some holding skateboards, watched from the audience. Handy said she would appreciate a skate park because it’s something she didn’t have in her native Texas.
The village is seeking funding for the two projects as part of the federal Community Development Block Grant program, which is meant to assist residents of low and moderate income.
The Lancaster Town Board voted one week earlier to apply for block-grant money for sidewalk and curb cut replacements in the town as the board’s top priority and for the skate park as the second priority.
Members of the two boards had discussed filing a joint application to seek funding for shared community needs. Town and village officials agreed on the need for a new Senior Center van, but they received assurances that the Assembly will pay for a replacement van.
At Monday’s public hearing, five people urged village trustees to support the planned skate park, which is meant to honor Bryce Buchholz, a teen who was killed in May by a drunk driver while riding his bike, and to give teen bicyclists and skateboarders a place removed from downtown Lancaster where they can perform their tricks.
“The community is on board. The kids are here in support. If we all work together we can make this be something great for Lancaster,” said Anne Farmer, Bryce’s aunt.
Bill Buchholz, Bryce’s father, told the trustees that volunteers have raised $70,000 so far toward their $150,000 goal for the skate park, but the cost of the park could end up being higher than this estimate.
“So any more funding we can get, we’re all for it,” Buchholz said.
Mayor Paul M. Maute said he and the other trustees are in full support of the skate park and they have worked closely with volunteer organizers on the question of how to pay for the park.
Village officials will decide how much to seek in the grant application for the sidewalk and curb cut replacements once they determine how much the repair work would cost, O’Brien said after the meeting.
The village is not joining the town in the town’s application for sidewalk and curb cut funding because the village’s request applies to work on streets within the village, while the town’s request covers streets in the town but outside the village, O’Brien said.