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Ruined park building a victim of budget crisis

It's a great time of year to take a walk in the park. The leaves are changing, the air is crisp.

But when one Lancaster resident was enjoying a recent visit to Como Lake Park, she spotted something that raised a number of questions and concerns.

"What are they ever going to do with the site of the 'mostly' demolished senior citizens building?" Sandi Robinson asked in an e-mail to Fix It.

"It was taken down in a very slow manner by park workers -- keeping some of the building intact," she added. "Huge trusses were brought [there] and have sat there unprotected from the weather for about three years. Mostly it annoys me that so much money in materials has been wasted."
And money, or the lack of it, is precisely why the project is stalled, according to Erie County Parks Commissioner Angelo J. Sedita.

"It's just a victim of the budget crisis," Sedita told The Buffalo News on Friday.

The renovation and rebuilding of Como Lake Park and that particular building were part of a $15 million master plan that ended when the county Parks Department work force was cut from 103 employees in 2004 to 41, and funding was taken away.

"Rebuilding the senior center was part of that plan," Sedita said. "The building was old. We took it down, and the layoff came. Now I have no money or manpower to rebuild the center."

There are plans for the project, Sedita said, but without capital dollars, nothing can be done. "There is absolutely nothing I can do about it until I get a capital improvement budget," he said.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened, and it is not in next year's budget, either, he said.

"It's an important project, and it should get done," he said.

Sedita said the Como Lake Park site is not a danger and will be covered.

Fix It is here to help get action on the small, bothersome infrastructure problems people encounter in their everyday travels. To report something that needs fixing, call the Fix It line at 849-6026, e-mail fixit@buffnews.com or write to Fix It c/o The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14203. Fix It considers every suggestion received but is not able to respond to everyone who sent them in.

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