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Niagara board pays portion of fees for redesign of community center

The Niagara Town Board this week agreed to pay $40,000 toward the architecture fees to redesign the community center project.

E.I. Team Engineers & Architects was paid 80 percent of the balance owed for repackaging the bids for construction work on the 30,000-square-foot facility, which is being built through funding from the State Power Authority.

Deputy Supervisor Marc Carpenter explained that the entire project had to be scaled down because original bids came in about $2 million over budget. He said the firm was hired by the board to rebid the project with a number of items taken out. The initial bids called for a number of things such as solar lighting and related wiring that the board felt were not necessary because of the expense, he said.

The center, which has been in the planning stage for about seven years, makes up the majority of the $18 million project to redesign the entire town park and add several amenities to the 124-acre site. No tax dollars are being used for the project, officials have said.

Carpenter said that although the new bids have been received, nothing has been approved yet. If accepted, the project should begin in a couple of months, he noted.

Because of the cost problems, the project is six to 12 months behind schedule.

Supervisor Steven Richards, who was not at Tuesday's meeting, has said the final project "will be the envy of the county, if not Western New York."

In another matter, the board promoted the townwide cleanup project that begins Saturday. Volunteers were asked to appear at the town Highway Department garage at 8 a.m. Town crews will be on hand to assist and all volunteers will be given a free lunch.

Councilman Charles Teixeira said the volunteers, who are to begin at Belden Center, would get the town in decent shape for the upcoming bicentennial celebrations. He said he hoped every area would follow suit, particularly around the main thoroughfares.

"Hopefully, this will be a catalyst to keep all areas of the town clean," Carpenter added.