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BUFFALO WARRIORS FOOTBALL TEAM DISCUSSES MOVE

The owners of the Buffalo Warriors, a minor-league pro football team, sounded out the Common Council Wednesday about moving the team to Lockport.

Warriors Vice President Mike Hale, a Town of Lockport resident, and President and General Manager Robert Bingle said they would like to play two home playoff games in Outwater Park Oct. 16 and 23.

That would be a preliminary to moving the franchise, part of the New York Football League, to Lockport in 2000.

The 3-year-old team currently plays at the small artificial-turf stadium on the University at Buffalo North Campus, but that stadium is scheduled to be dismantled by 2001, Hale said.

He also said the Warriors, despite a successful record, draw only about 500 fans per game and are overshadowed by the major professional teams in Buffalo.

"Here we'd be in a smaller fishbowl," Hale said.

The New York Football League named the Warriors its Organization of the Year in 1998.

Lockport has a strong recent history in minor-league football, with the Lockport Invaders performing strongly through most of this decade. However, after last season, the Invaders merged with the Buffalo Gladiators.

The Gladiators play in the New York Amateur Football League.

This summer, the Council allowed the Gladiators to play five games in Outwater Park, the last one this Saturday.

Hale's not impressed with the Gladiators.

"Maybe you guys would be interested in bringing in a quality organization," he told the aldermen.

Bingle said he and Hale would consider renaming the franchise the Lockport Warriors. Hale said the team would be willing to pay for security at the games and repair any damage to the locker rooms or other facilities.

The Oct. 16 and 23 dates, both Saturdays, present conflicts with previously scheduled Lockport Little Loop football games, and Council members indicated they wanted to protect the youth league. Hale and Bingle said they could play under the lights on those nights or move their games to the previous night or the next afternoon.

On another topic, Dale Association Executive Director Linda Van Buskirk and two other women urged the Council not to cut their $130,000 budget request for next year. It would be the sixth consecutive year the Dale Association, which operates the Lockport Senior Centre, has received that amount.

Ms. Van Buskirk told the Council she would be willing to meet with aldermen during the coming year to plan budget cuts for 2001.

Also Wednesday, Eastern Niagara Chamber of Commerce President David Kinyon and Chairman Marc R. Smith said the Chamber had chosen the South Block to be spruced up in its "Project Pride" program.

During the week of Sept. 20, materials will be brought to the downtown vacant lot. The next week, it will be graded, planted with grass and sprinkled to produce a more attractive appearance.

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