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SPORTSPLEX PLANS 70,000-SQUARE-FOOT EXPANSION

Sportsplex Inc. announced plans Wednesday for a 70,000-square-foot, $1.5 million expansion of its indoor sports facility on Ridge Road, North Tonawanda.

However, Sportsplex officials said the plan may depend upon whether the city subsidizes plans of another group to build a sports dome on city property at Deerwood Golf Course.

Jim May, an owner of Sportsplex, said that city approval of an investors' group to build a dome, all-sports practice facility at Deerwood, could result in a decision by May's group to sell Sportsplex instead of expanding.

Speaking at a North Tonawanda Common Council work session Wednesday, May, who also is general manager of the Buffalo Blizzard soccer team, said he does not want to oppose the dome group headed by former Buffalo Sabre's hockey player Tony McKegney, but he is concerned that the McKegney group would have a competitive advantage if the city agrees to lease property at Deerwood.

Council President Daniel J. Cudzilo, cool to the McKegney proposal, said he would not vote for any deal that provides an unfair advantage to anyone.

Alderman Leonard J. Wudyka asked May whether he and co-owner Mike Geraci would apply for Industrial Development Agency tax abatement, and if so, he didn't think that would be an advantage.

May said he did not think so, but in any event, all he was asking is a "level (competitive) playing field."

May noted that Sportsplex employs 60-70 persons full and part time, and, besides the Blizzard, is home to Buffalo's professional lacrosse team, and donates free practice time to North Tonawanda High School athletic teams.

With the planned addition, Sportsplex would be a 160,000-square-foot indoor facility, accommodating virtually all sports: football, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, track, softball and volleyball.

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