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PLANNING PANEL GETS 6 PROPOSALS FOR TOWN CENTER

Members of Grand Island's Long-Range Planning Committee have in hand a report from the University at Buffalo on the new Town Center.

Thomas Nowak, chairman of the committee, said the Town Center report from Professor Hiro Hata, assisted by 18 UB architecture and planning students, will be presented to the Town Board next Monday and discussed at meetings of the Long-Range Planning Committee on Oct. 8 and 22.

In the preface to the 88-page report, Hata, head of the UB Department of Architecture, presents the town center planning schemes of five groups of graduate students of architecture and planning.

The proposals include:

A plan to develop a new image for Grand Island Boulevard, emphasizing mixed uses.

A second plan, responding to the alignment of Woods Creek and Grand Island Boulevard, creates a single focal point in the form of a new civic plaza next to Town Hall.

The fully landscaped plaza would become a symbolic and functional center of the Island, including a new town library and town center market building, residential clusters and a park.

A third plan is a village-like scheme with linked courtyards, and including a new branch post office and town library framing the Town Hall square.

Grand Island Boulevard would be transformed into a tree-lined street with a planted median strip and framed by two-story buildings.

Scheme Four places its emphasis on the development of a grand civic plaza containing a a large reflecting pool as a town center focus.

This plan includes a new library and day-care center. A new community center, large restaurant and a theater would be housed in free-standing buildings along Grand Island Boulevard.

A fifth plan would have a civic triangle surrounded by large spatial boundaries. This would be achieved by building nearly unbroken street walls around the entire triangle, consisting primarily of two- and-three-story mixed-use buildings, overlooking a proposed Woods Creek Park in the triangle.

The triangle would remain civic, with a new Town Hall, the existing Fire Station and a new town library at the intersection of Grand Island Boulevard and Whitehaven Road.

High-density housing would be developed along a new access road envisioned as a tree-lined parkway with a median green. The access road would parallel Grand Island Boulevard.

Scheme Six proposes that the civic triangle be strictly used for the town's governmental purposes, all other structures to be constructed outside of it.

The civic triangle would comprise a new town plaza featuring an expansive paved square and a large reflecting pool with a lighthouse and grove of trees at its southern edge.

The focal point of the plaza would be a renovated Town Hall with new public facade, facing Grand Island Boulevard. Included in the plan is a new community center and a new town library.

"Despite the difference in approach and scope, all six proposals share the needs of preserving and enhancing Woods Creek," Hata said. "By placing buildings close to the street, they also shared the needs of creating urbanity and a sense of place in the town center," he said.

"The town center project proposals presented in this book are an initial step toward assisting Grand Island in deciding how best this community could go about shaping its new heart.

"As such, the six proposals represent explorations to this end. They are early conceptual proposals. In no way should they be taken as final plans, carved into stone," Hata said.

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