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TOWN ADVISED OF CHOICE FOR YOUTH CENTER; FORMER RESTAURANT PICKED IN EGGERTSVILLE

The search for a site for a youth center in the Eggertsville area has been narrowed to a former restaurant building behind the Northtown Plaza, the Amherst Town Board learned Monday afternoon.

A state grant will be sought to buy and renovate the building on the south side of Eggert near Delta roads, Joseph E. Bachovchin, executive director of the Amherst Youth Board, told the Town Board.

The property -- best known as the former Eduardo's Restaurant -- is priced at $275,000, Bachovchin said. How much it will cost to renovate the building into a youth center isn't known yet, he added.

Bachovchin said the Eggert Road building was the choice among seven sites studied by the Youth Board. The seven ranged from a vacant town-owned lot next to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church on Sweet Home Road to $650,000 for another restaurant building at North Bailey Avenue and Grover Cleveland Highway.

Amherst currently has youth centers at the Clearfield Recreation Center, on South Cayuga Road in the Village of Williamsville, at the Harlem Road Community Center and on North Ellicott Creek Road -- but none in the densely populated Eggertsville area.

"We're really not serving any youth from the Princeton (Court) and Allenhurst" apartment complexes, and very few from the Hartford Estates and Buckeye areas, Bachovchin told the board.

The former Eduardo's Restaurant is a half-mile walk from the Allenhurst apartments, and about a mile walk from the Princeton Court apartments, he noted. "It's quite convenient, a good place to drop off kids," Bachovchin said.

Councilman Lawrence Southwick Jr. said most Eggertsville youth are closer to the Harlem Road youth center than youth in the Ransom Oaks area are to the Clearfield center.

But Bachovchin noted that the state grant money is for community-based drug- and crime-prevention programs "in youth-at-risk" areas.

"The chances (for a grant) are better" in an area like Eggertsville, with its relatively large number of middle- and low-income households, than in relatively affluent Ransom Oaks, the youth director told Southwick.

The state grant program has "no upper limits, no lower limits," Bachovchin said, explaining that the town could receive funds ranging from a fraction of the project cost to the entire project cost -- or nothing.

The 1990-91 state budget allots $25.9 million in competitive grants for not-for-profit corporations and municipalities to establish youth centers in areas where they are most needed, Bachovchin said.

If a grant is approved, youth officials plan to equip and furnish the town's fifth youth center through communitywide fund-raising, Bachovchin said. He estimated operation and staff costs to the town at about $50,000 a year.

Bachovchin identified other sites considered by the Youth Board as a vacant lot at North Ivyhurst Road and Millersport Highway, for $89,000; a business building at 1718 Eggert, $180,000; a small lot at 685 Niagara Falls Blvd., $47,500, and a commercial garage at 1620 Eggert, $360,000.

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