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Western New York is a fragmented society both economically and politically. Just take a look at the proposed ice arenas for the area.

The Town of Amherst is planning to build a four-rink ice complex. Three rinks could be justified but certainly not four. As a point of interest, the projected cost started at $14 million and has grown to $18.3 million.

The City of Buffalo is proposing a four-rink facility in the downtown Cobblestone District. The estimated cost is $10 million to $14 million.

Erie Community College is proposing two new ice rinks on its South Campus.

This is a total of 10 new ice rinks that are to be built by the government, not by private enterprise. The main customers for these new facilities would have to come from the only four taxpaying rinks in Erie County -- there are no other significant customers available. So that the government can own and operate 10 new ice rinks, do we close two more taxpaying companies?

Why doesn't Western New York do a market study to determine how many rinks are needed and where? In Pittsburgh, there are at least 12 ice rinks. They are all run by private owners who pay taxes.

Over the past 25 years as a business owner and operator in our community, I have seen a continued decline in the taxpaying community but no decline -- only an increase -- in non-taxpaying government entities. Does this make sense?

Glenn H. Grundtisch Buffalo

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