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West Seneca residents Wednesday told the Town Board there is a need for major improvements of existing recreational facilities, for better recreational activities for youth and for walking trails, bike paths and a golf course as part of the town's master plan for parks and recreation through the year 2020.

About 80 residents attended a hearing to gather public comments on a $19,800 parks and recreation study conducted by consultants Pratt and Huth.

"We recognize an integral need. . . . We want to do this properly as we lay out a game plan for the future." Supervisor Paul T. Clark said.

A recent, random survey of 1,200 households in the town received 390 responses. Residents rated their satisfaction with existing recreational facilities and outlined future programs needed to meet the needs of a projected increase in youth population as well as senior citizens.

A major focus of the plan involves development of a town-owned, 69-acre tract at the northwest corner of Leydecker and East & West roads,
referred to as Sunshine Park.

Nine residents Tuesday suggested that the tract be
developed into a golf course.

"People drive miles to get to one (a golf course), we should have it right here," one East & West Road resident said.

"It's a good money maker and an image builder," an Allendale Road resident said of golf courses.

Five speakers said the Sunshine Park area should be maintained as a nature preserve with improvements in walking trails and no access to cars or other vehicles.

Several residents expressed a need for year-round recreational facilities for adults and

Earl Schunk, recreational playground director and varsity basketball coach at West Seneca West High School, suggested a recreational center similar to the Aquatic and Fitness Center in the Town of Tonawanda with an enclosed pool, basketball court, weight room and exercise rooms for youth and adults.

"They need a place to hang out," Schunk said, referring to the town's younger residents.

The majority of residents who spoke at the hearing cited a need for major improvements in the condition of softball and baseball diamonds and tennis courts in the town.

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