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CHEEKTOWAGA MULLS NEXT STEP FOR LINKS

The Cheektowaga Town Board pondered the next step in building a golf course in Rehm Road Park at a Thursday work session, where Wall Street consultants told them municipal golf courses can be profitable.

"Golf courses can be highly profitable," said James E. McLoughlin of Double Eagle Development Inc. However, Thomas J. Boczar, president of Double Eagle, gave the board only two possible options for pursing an estimated $1 million or more that may be needed to complete a basic 18- hole golf course.

Last month, Cheektowaga voters overwhelmingly defeated a bond issue that would have provided an additional $1.9 million to build the town's first golf course on the north edge of the Village of Depew. A $2 million bond issue previously was approved by voters, but close to half of that could be eaten up by land acquisition and development costs.

Thursday night, board members talked about settling legal battles over land acquisition, possible redesign and the deference of course amenities in order to bring the project within the existing budget.

"It's going to depend on a lot of options," Councilman Dennis H. Gabryszak, chairman of the board's Parks Committee, said after talking with Double Eagle consultants. The Town Board will meet with several firms before deciding its next step on the project, he added.

Boczar said state municipal law prohibits town officials from entering into an arrangement that would allow a developer to lease the land from the town, build the course and sell it back to the town. However, he said legislation is pending in Albany that would allow municipalities to enter into such agreements involving real estate.

The other option he presented involved creating a corporation that would enter into an agreement with the Erie County Industrial Agency to issue revenue bonds, backed by the anticipated profits from the course. However, Supervisor Frank E. Swiatek, who is an IDA board member, cast some doubt on the viability of that suggestion when he noted that the IDA issues bonds only to industries targeted for need.

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