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YOUNG RESIDENTS' IDEAS SOLICITED FOR SKATE PARK

Area youths are invited to help plan the ideal skate park March 3 in the first of a series of three "Kids' Town Meetings" sponsored by the Olean Common Council and the city's Division of Youth.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Kathleen Sader, chairwoman of the Youth and Recreation Committee, introduced the idea at Tuesday's committee meeting. She said she hopes the all-youth forum will generate input that will help officials design a facility.

"But we have to tell them from the beginning that we're not making any promises and that there will be constraints," Sader said, referring to insurance limitations and unknown factors including location and cost.

Some groundwork is in place as the result of a proposal by a private developer that was abandoned last year.

Sgt. William Aiello, police Juvenile Division officer, said one suggested location -- in War Veterans' Park near the city's tennis courts, swimming pool and Recreation Center -- was already abandoned. Instead, an unused corner of the city's Franchot Park is being considered because of its proximity to the Allegheny River Valley Trail.

In addition, an anonymous donor recently contributed $10,000 in seed money to begin the effort, said Mayor James P. Griffin. Sader said the Kids' Town Meeting will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

A second youth forum will be held in the John Ash Community Center on North Barry Street and focus on general issues. A third session at the Community Center will separate young people into discussion groups by age.

In other business, the committee:

Voted to support a $100,000 application for state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation funding to extend the Allegheny River Valley Trail to the dikes of a preserved section of the Genesee River Canal and a return loop east and north of its current route. If approved, the grant would require the city to contribute matching funds totaling about $20,000, Griffin said.

In an unrelated matter, earlier Tuesday the City Operations Committee of the Common Council approved the transfer of $8,000 to create a second full-time maintenance worker position at the Recreation Center.

Aiello told committee members that the worker will be paid between $26,000 and $28,000 a year plus benefits and will be scheduled to work between 3 and 11:30 p.m.

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