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AGREEMENT CLEARS THE WAY FOR CITY TO LEASE LAND, SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ACQUIRE PROPERTY

North Tonawanda city and school officials Saturday reached an apparent agreement that will result in both the city and school obtaining property they were seeking.

Under the agreement, the school district will acquire a tax-delinquent property and convert it into a bus maintenance facility.

The city will get to lease some school property where it wants to build a golf driving range.

At a joint session in City Hall, the Common Council, led by President Paul P. Reidenouer, and school officials, led by Superintendent John H. George, hammered out the agreement.

The city agreed that the school district will not have to pay more than the $64,000 in delinquent taxes owed by Twin Cities Community Outreach for property on Ridge Road that the Board of Education is acquiring for the bus maintenance facility.

In return, the School Board agreed to lease an 18-acre vacant tract that the school district owns on Walck Road to the city at no additional cost for 99 years.

If the school district should need the property to build another school during that period, which most see as unlikely, the lease could be terminated.

The city is planning to build a golf driving range on the Walck Road property, although the Council has not yet approved the plan.

The driving range, estimated to cost $250,000, would complement the city's 18-hole Deerwood Golf Course and a 9-hole expansion that is under construction.

The terms of the city-school district agreement are to be worked out by City Attorney Henry F. Wojtaszek and school district attorney Bernard Freedman before the Council and the School Board officially vote on it. However, it appeared Saturday that the two bodies have the necessary votes for approval.

Near the end of Saturday's two-hour meeting, everyone seemed to support a suggestion by School Board President Arthur G. Pappas and Reidenouer that the two bodies meet jointly at least every three months to discuss mutual problems and interests.

City and school officials also reached a new three-year agreement on joint use of city and school recreational facilities without cost.

The old agreement expired last June.

The school district, which is operating on a contingency budget this year, is required by state law to charge a fee for outside use of its facilities.

However, the new pact waives that requirement for city use of the facilities.

"The city should not have to pay for use of school facilities," George said.

"We're not out to hurt taxpayers," School Board member John F. Gotowko added.

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