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GABRYSZAK FAULTED ON GOLF COURSE PROJECT

Two Cheektowaga Town Board members complained Monday night that Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak is not keeping the board abreast of developments on the town's long-stalled golf course project.

The $5.5 million course was supposed to have opened in June but is not yet under construction.

Council Members William P. Rogowski and Patricia A. Jaworowicz said they cannot answer residents who ask about the project, because the supervisor has been silent on the subject for months.

Gabryszak replied that the developer is still trying to arrange financing -- and that if there had been anything else to report on the $5.5 million project this summer, he would have.

After disappointments and delays for the better part of two years, the supervisor said, he decided to stop raising "false hope" and wait until there was something concrete to report, one way or the other.

"There's absolutely nothing going on with the golf course, nothing. It sits with a local bank, with the developer awaiting word on a loan," he told Rogowski.

The subject was raised from the floor by James Rogowski, a son of the councilman, who reminded Gabryszak that taxpayers paid for the 165 acres of land on which the course was supposed to be built off Genesee Street near Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

"People want to know when and if a golf course is ever going to be built," James Rogowski, a newly elected Democratic Party committeeman, told the supervisor.

"Have you asked your dad that?" Gabryszak answered, prompting the elder Rogowski's complaint about a lack of communication between the supervisor and the board on the project.

Gabryszak also pointed out that while taxpayers may have paid for the site, they also rejected proposals to use public funds to develop the course.

"It's difficult to get private developers to come in and build a course they will never own and have a relatively short period of time to make their investment and realize a return," Gabryszak said.

The town approved leasing the 165 acres to a Canadian firm, Commonwealth Sport Fund, in September 1998 to develop the course by June 2000. The so-called Sandbush Golf Club was supposed to bring the town overall payments of $2.5 million over 30 years in addition to discounted rates for its residents.

Unable to put its own deal together, Commonwealth has joined a local investment group in trying to obtain financing for the project, Gabryszak said.

The town's attempts to build an 18-hole municipal course date from 1988.

In other business Monday, the board voted to begin negotiations with the Erie County Water Authority for authority takeover of operation and maintenance responsibilities in Water District 8, located near the airport; Water District 9, in an area east of the Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve; and Water District 10, off Galleria Drive.

Currently, the town has a "lease management" agreement with the authority, leaving the town responsible for major repairs as well as future capital projects in the three districts. Town Engineer William Pugh said the districts are debt-free, with water lines ranging from 20 to more than 50 years old. The Water Authority already services the town's other water districts under "direct service" agreements.

The board approved plans to convert a former Raymour & Flanigan furniture showroom on Transit Road near Genesee Street into offices and other tenant space. Renovation work will include a new facade, sidewalk along Transit and more landscaping, including a courtyard entryway.

A $330,720 contract was awarded to Janik Paving & Construction of Hamburg, low bidder on storm and sanitary sewer projects in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, including Cedargrove Heights.

The work will be paid for with federal community development block grant funds. "The sewers in these locations are very old and dilapidated. . . . I think this is a very beneficial use of these (block grant) funds," said Council Member Thomas M. Johnson Jr.

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