The Clarence Soccer Club is leaning toward borrowing money from a private lender for a proposed indoor soccer facility, rather than through an arrangement with the town, and it favors a different location in Memorial Park for the project, Town Supervisor David C. Hartzell Jr. said.
Hartzell updated Town Board members at a Wednesday work session ahead of the regular board meeting.
Separately, the board scheduled a public hearing for next month involving Kittinger Furniture’s proposed move to Clarence.
Town officials had considered taking a lead role in building an estimated $1.5 million soccer facility, with the idea that the town could borrow money at a much lower interest rate than would be available to the club from a private lender. Under that scenario, the club would make payments to reimburse the town for its bonding costs.
But Hartzell said club leaders have told him they believe its savings on borrowing costs would be more than negated by the prevailing wage rate paid on the project under those circumstances.
“So they’re thinking about financing it themselves, rather than having the town bond it,” Hartzell said.
The soccer club has also heard criticism over the idea of the town being involved in the financing, as well as the facility’s potential location, in the center of Memorial Park, Hartzell said. The group now says it prefers a less-prominent spot, on unused land in the park’s northeast corner. That alternative came up during a board discussion earlier this month.
“They said residents are taking up a petition against it and people are starting to talk,” Hartzell said. “They said that it really doesn’t matter to them where it goes, that back corner is just as good as the [center location] and they said that they want no controversy on it.”
Another matter to be resolved would be the land where the facility would be built. If the town sells land in a town park, that would involve approval from the state, Hartzell said.
Hartzell said nothing about the soccer club’s proposal has been finalized and he expects the Town Board would talk more with the group. No one from the soccer club spoke at Wednesday’s meeting.
In other business, the Town Board set a public hearing for Dec. 19 related to Kittinger’s plan to move its furniture-making operation to a roller skating rink behind Eastern Hills Mall.
The Planning Board last week recommended the Town Board approve the Kittinger project’s site plan, as well as a special-exception use permit the project needs to advance. Kittinger would buy and renovate the Clarence facility and relocate from the Tri-Main Building in Buffalo.
Hartzell ended Wednesday’s board meeting asking people to pray for Kathleen Hallock, the deputy town supervisor and former town supervisor, whom he said is very sick.