Orchard Park Community Center Goes To Voters

Orchard Park To Vote on Community Center

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - This November, Orchard Park will have a big decision to make on Election Day.

But it won't have anything to do with the presidential race.

On Nov. 8, the town's voters will also see a referendum on the ballot about a proposed community activities center, which would be located at Brush Mountain Park on California Road. The language of the referendum will ask voters if they'd like to approve the construction of the facility at a cost "not to exceed $16 million," which Town Councilman Michael Sherry said would amount to roughly a $3.5 dollar property tax increase at the very most for the average Orchard Park home.

If the town receives additional grants or donations, that $16 million price tag could cheapen, and subsequently the impact to taxpayers would cheapen as well.

But Town Supervisor Patrick Keem said he believes the community center is worth the slight tax increase. The project would add new space for the town's seniors, and it would also provide room for recreational groups, youth groups and youth sports. Keem said businesses have also reached out to him about getting involved.

For seniors in particular, Keem said the town sorely needs to upgrade the current Orchard Park Senior Center on Linwood Avenue.

"Our Orchard Park Senior Center does not meet current standards of what a senior center should be, in my opinion and in the opinion of most of the people in the community," Keem said. "A senior center itself contributes to the health of the senior population, but at the same time, our youth groups are crying out for more space to practice, to hold events, to meet, and there's a lot of groups in town -- boy scouts, girl scouts, and other groups -- that need meeting space, which a community activities center would provide."

Josh Bruzgul, an Orchard Park resident, said he's willing to pay the additional taxes.

"I think that's what it takes to building something that can bring us all together within the community," Bruzgul said. "It's a big project-- it's something that needs the support of our community."

The town will hold three open forums in early November about the project. In the next two months, the town plans to release information about operation, maintenance and full financials.


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