Lockport residents share concerns about future of Kibler Park
A group of residents approached the City of Lockport Common Council Wednesday, expressing concerns with the Lockport City School District’s plans to purchase the park and create an access road and parking lot.
Mayor Michael Tucker said the district did approach the city a couple weeks ago, asking if they would consider giving them the park to help alleviate traffic congestion surrounding Roy B. Kelley.
Tucker said they told the district they would consider it, because with Washington Hunt closing this year, 150 additional students will be attending RBK. There is already daily traffic congestion and next year there will be even more students. Tucker said the city is going to have to tell the district they will have to do something to fix the traffic concerns for the safety of residents and students.
Another reason they would entertain the project is because of the reduction in city employees. Tucker said with 26 parks in the city, it was hard for them to maintain them all when the workforce was at its highest.
Park Lane Circle Resident Melanie Dalesandro asked the city not to entertain the district’s plans. She said most of the homeowners purchased their properties because it was located with the park behind.
“Our quality of life will gratefully decline,” said Dalesandro.
She spoke about “rumors” of the project and questioned why plans for it were already on the district’s website, when the city said it is not official.
She also spoke about the park being abandoned, and the reason she believed it was, is because the playground equipment had been removed.
“Kids did not abandon the park, the city abandoned the park,” said Dalesandro.
If money is the driving force to get rid of the park, Dalesandro suggested the city first offer it to the residents who live in front of it, putting the property back on the tax rolls.
Park Lane Circle resident Tim Dale said if the city is looking to get rid of the park to save money, they need to consider that though it will save city tax payers money from the city, those same tax payers will have to pay that money now in school taxes, plus additional money for the proposed project to go along with the land.
Tucker said the city would only agree to sell the park after seeing the district’s plans and knowing that the residents living around the park were okay with the changes, feeling satisfied that their input and concerns were heard.
The city can also not give the park away without first getting approval from the state of New York., which Tucker said is a “very tough thing to do.”
Tucker said the district plans, though not final, would include a parking lot and access road on to Elmwood Avenue, which would only be open in the morning and afternoon, to help cars leave the school property.