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RAZING OF BUILDING PAVES WAY FOR NEIGHBORHOOD PARK

With the town band playing and politicians cutting symbolic red tape, two pieces of construction equipment Friday tore down the last wall of the old Madison Wire plant on Indian Church Road.

Now West Seneca can begin creating a neighborhood park out of an abandoned industrial site.

"For 20 years, this has been a problem for residents," said Erie County Legislator John Greenan, R-West Seneca, "and today we are showing what can be done with brownfields sites not just in the city or the suburbs, but in the whole state."

West Seneca is a beneficiary of various state and federal initiatives to clean up abandoned factory sites. Five million dollars was spent by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Environmental Protection Agency "to clean up the former factory site and certify it for use," said Town Supervisor Paul T. Clark.

"We'll let the next contract soon and begin work on the actual park construction this year," Clark said. "It might be open to the public as early as this fall, with the finishing touches put in next spring."

The neighborhood park will have picnic sites, playground equipment, restrooms, a walking trail and a large, open meadow. Residents were offered virtually anything they wanted at public hearings 18 months ago and unanimously said they just wanted greenery, open space, a place to toss a ball or walk without team sports venues.

West Seneca has $180,000 in federal Department of Housing and Urban Development community development block grant funds to complete the park, which is expected to cost $200,000.

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