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$3 MILLION EYED FOR EGGERTSVILLE IMPROVEMENTS

Amherst is considering funneling $3 million into the Eggertsville community over the next six years.

Amherst Council Members Daniel J. Ward, Todd E. Shatkin and William L. Kindel are pushing to make Eggertsville a priority on the town's capital-improvement agenda for the years ahead.

The three are suggesting $500,000 a year, over six years, be allocated to Eggertsville for capital projects and redevelopment efforts.

They didn't present specifics Tuesday on how the money would be used. Those details would be worked out with town planners, who are currently looking at Eggertsville's needs while devising a master plan for that part of the community, said Shatkin, a Democrat running for re-election.

"Eggertsville is considered the forgotten part of our town," said Kindel, a Republican who is running for re-election, as well. "But they want their fair share and I along with other members of the Town Board will ensure that will happen." The politician's comments came at Tuesday's Town Board meeting during a public hearing on Amherst's proposed capital-improvement program.

Amherst's capital-improvement program is basically a town wish list updated each year to chart the projects town decision-makers would ideally like to see happen over the next six years. Some projects have been proposed for years and never received funding.

A town panel, though, will pick out the most essential projects, some of which Amherst Supervisor Susan J. Grelick may recommend for next year's budget. She also may suggest borrowing the money for some capital improvements.

Residents asked the Town Board to consider a number of projects being proposed, from new softball diamonds to a $900,000 golf driving range at the Audubon Golf Course.

"A driving range at Audubon will not only pay for itself, but generate revenue for other projects in this town," Snyder resident Chris Drongosky said.

But the focus clearly was on Eggertsville.

"I've lived in Eggertsville my whole life and we never get the amenities everyone else (in the town) gets," said Chris Boehm, a longtime resident of Springville Avenue and a member of the Eggertsville Community Organization.

"We need park space, we need green space, a community center is well overdue," Boehm said. "The thing is we need the money. We need to know there's a commitment."

Grelick, though, reminded the Town Board it doesn't want to increase the town's debt so it has to raise taxes next year.

Amherst agreed to borrow a lot of money this year for some high-priced projects, such as a new senior citizens center. That -- combined with the fact that the town's current debt payments won't drop off any time soon -- limits what the town can borrow next year without increasing its debt payments.

Grelick will make a recommendation for next year's capital improvement projects when she submits a town budget at the end of the month.

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