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Clarence remains interested in acquiring nearly 400 acres of county parkland for a park, town officials say.

But the town would prefer that it not be a county park, open to everyone.

Clarence and county officials Monday held another meeting on the possibility of the town acquiring the so-called "Beeman Creek Park" acreage in the Lapp-Salt-Parker roads area in the north-central part of town.

One sticking point, according to town officials, is an earlier county proviso that in exchange for selling the park to the town for $1, the park would have to be open to the general public.

Clarence, however, has a residents-only policy in its town parks, and most residents want to keep it that way, according to officials.

Beeman Creek Park is a misnomer because the land isn't open to the public.

Supervisor Paul McCarthy and other town officials see it as a "passive" park, with uses limited to nature education and trails for hiking, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and horseback riding.

"I can see maybe a ball diamond there, but that's it," McCarthy said Tuesday.

He added that one of the prime fears voiced by the 40 to 50 persons at Monday's meeting is that Beeman Creek Park will become a county park along the lines of Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park or Akron Falls Park in neighboring Newstead.

"I've seen this passive park business before, then all of a sudden, it becomes a full-blown park. I don't want that to happen," McCarthy said.

"We're not trying to keep people out, but we do want to have more control if we can, rather than having it open to everybody in New York State," he added.

McCarthy said county officials were asked to explore the possibility of Clarence buying the acreage not for $1, but for the price the county paid for it.

The county acquired the property in 1966 for about $90,000 in state and federal funds, land-banking it for park development in the year 2002. Given the county's financial situation, that target date is no longer considered realistic, officials say.

The next meeting probably will be held early next year.

"This will give the county time to respond and give the town time to look at development possibilities," McCarthy said Tuesday. "There's no big all-fired hurry to consummate the deal."

"We're no closer than we were last month, except maybe having a better understanding of each other's position," he added. "We're looking into the legalities involved in having the title in our name, period."

Purchasing the parkland outright from the county presumably would give the town unrestricted title and the authority to set its own rules, including barring non-residents.

However, officials said the use of state and federal funds in the original purchase may restrict not only how the land may be used but also how it may be disposed of.

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