Village of Lancaster Board supports skate park, but has to look at what's best
Recent statements alleging the board does not support the park, because they decided at this point in time not to file a joint Community Block Grant (CBG) application with the town, couldn’t be further from the truth and it has led members of the board to become quite upset, said Lancaster Village Trustee Edward M. Marki.
“It paints a really rotten picture of us and that is just not the way we are handling this,” said Trustee William C. Schroeder. “We fully support the skate park, but we also have to look at other [projects] the grant could be used for.”
At Monday night’s meeting, newly appointed Deputy Mayor Kenneth L. O’Brien III informed the board the town wants to file a joint federal Community Block Grant (CBG) application to receive a $100,000 to fund a new van for the senior center and the skate park, which would be located in Keysa Park and does fall within the CBG guidelines.
O’Brien recommended the village board support the joint application for the senior van, but postpone any action for the skate park.
“They [the town] acted on a grant proposal without contacting us, which we are all trying to get to the same goal so we’re not mad that they did it, but they didn’t know about all the funding we have,” said Marki.
The village is in contact with a number of state and county agencies who have expressed interested in helping to fund the park.
“So, it is being looked at as if we’re not backing the park,” said Marki. “When really we’re just saying the grant money can be used for other projects in the village and the money we were promised [by the state] can’t be used for anything, but the park.”
“If we have money sitting on the table from the state and the county why would we say no thanks?” added Marki. “Instead of helping people with their sidewalks and their sanitation we’re going to take grant money and waste it on the park, even though you were going to give us $50,000 for the park. That would be atrocious and poor leadership.”
O’Brien added the board will meet and discuss the skate park funding and figure out what would be the most beneficial to the community, the park or other projects in the village.
“We need another week or so put the financials together,” Marki said.
Schroeder also mentioned that the town wanted them to commit to this immediately, but before they do anything they have to hold a public hearing.
“I am in favor of foregoing sidewalks or something like that for a year if we could help out the skate park, because I really think it is going to be a big benefit all the way around,” said Schroeder. “We could decide to commit to it, but if we get enough people at the public hearing saying, ‘we want sidewalks or some other type of project’ it has to be considered too. This is the process we have to follow.”
The village board has been working with Bill Buchholz, Bryce’s father, for the past year on this project, including finding a site and fund-raising, and it has become one of their priorities and goals to complete this project. Town officials became involved when the village contacted them, because it was decided that Keysa Park, which is owned by the town, would be a good location, which resulted in the village and town entities to support the skate park.
The village can submit up to three projects for the grant, in which the board will have to rank a project’s level of importance, which the skate park is the village’s No.1 priority for the grant and the van is second, said Marki.
It is also not guaranteed the town or the village will receive any CBG funding as the village’s application has been denied in previous years. The public hearing is scheduled to be held at the next village board meeting.
In addition, $55,000 has been raised for the skate park by a core group of volunteers and in an effort to continue to meet their goal of $150,000 to build the park more fund-raising events will be held.
The first will be a concert put on by Jeffrey Steele at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the Lancaster opera House. Tickets can be purchased by calling the opera house at 683-1776. Also, a Bryce Buchholz Memorial Christmas Party will be held Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Lancaster County Club. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased by calling Angela at 393-3337 or Denise at 668-8655.
The next Village of Lancaster Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, in the Municipal Building Council Chambers, 5423 Broadway, Lancaster.