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OFFICIALS NOT GIVING UP ON RECREATION COMPLEX

Southtowns officials are not giving up on plans for an indoor sports and recreation complex, despite a financial setback.

The county turned down a request from Eden and Evans officials for $40,000 to study and develop a plan for a multipurpose recreation facility, but the project is not dead, officials said. "It's an idea that I intend to pursue more," Eden Supervisor Glenn R. Nellis said. "We would want to look at any prototypes."

Eden was the lead agency -- joined by Evans -- in asking earlier this summer for funding as part of a $2.7 million pool of money through the 1998 county municipal regionalism grant program.

Officials envision the complex as a public-private project that could offer soccer, field hockey, jogging and volleyball, among other sports, Nellis said.

The Southtowns area, officials say, has a great need for such a facility.

In addition to Eden and Evans, the towns of Boston, Brant, Hamburg, North Collins and Orchard Park, as well as the Eden and Lakeshore Central school districts, are joining in the effort.

"It had pretty broad support," Nellis said. "We had hoped the county would be interested in looking at a multipurpose indoor recreation facility."

Despite the lack of funding to study the plan, Nellis said local officials still may look at similar complexes in Harrisburg, Pa., and on Long Island.

"The common ground for us is an intent in exploring the possibilities," Nellis said.

He cited the Eden Dolphins Swim Club and various year-round volleyball camps and clubs as the types of organizations that would benefit from such a facility. School sports organizations would not be excluded, though, he said.

"We'd be foolish not to stay in touch with the schools to see what pressures they are facing," Nellis said. "We would need to be careful not to duplicate, but to complement what exists."

Evans Supervisor Robert R. Catalino said the next step is to review the project to get a feel for the interest level, despite the county's funding rejection.

"It's something that I think is feasible to do," Catalino said. "We'll have to sit down to see if people are still interested in it."

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