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FINANCING PLAN IS ADOPTED TO EXPAND SITE FOR SENIOR CITIZENS

Town of Lancaster officials Monday adopted a financing plan for the $850,000 addition to the Senior Citizen Center but said they will continue to pursue additional funding sources.

The spending plan includes a $90,000 community development block grant and the issuance of $760,000 in serial bonds to pay for the 4,000-square-foot addition to the Oxford Avenue facility.

Supervisor Robert H. Giza announced the grant during Monday's Town Board meeting in which board members adopted the bond resolution.

Giza also said that board members will continue seeking county and state grants to help finance the project.

Giza announced that State Sen. Dale M. Volker, R-Depew, has said he would do his best to secure money for the project. "But it's not a promise," said Giza, who requested a legislative initiative in the amount of $600,000.

When it first opened six years ago, some worried that the Senior Citizen Center would not catch on. Now it is virtually bursting at the seams, with more and more of its 2,000 members attending various programs throughout the week, administrators say.

Between 150 and 200 members arrive on Thursdays for bingo. The current set of restrooms has proved to be inadequate, routinely resulting in people having to wait in line.

The parties there are so popular that a lottery system determines who gets in and who does not, because not everyone can fit, Giza said. "Fifty or sixty people are turned away each time," he said.

Rather than build a new facility, though, Lancaster will expand its 9,500-square-foot center by 4,000 square feet, a project estimated to cost several hundred thousand dollars more than initially projected in October.

"We didn't know at the time if we would go with 30 or 40 feet, or somewhere in between," Giza said.

"Now that we have the calculations, we'll go with all 40 feet, which costs more, but in the end I think it'll be cheaper (than $850,000)."

Fortunately for the town, that facility was constructed with eventual expansion plans in mind. "We knew it would be expanded someday," Giza said. "It was built to pull out the west wall.

Currently, the center houses a music room, a crafts room, a library, a billiards room and a dining area for 220.

Expansion plans include adding a set of restrooms, more storage space and a new large meeting room with a partition so it can double as an exercise room with a universal gym. The current exercise room would be turned into a computer room, Giza said.

Members are "all for it," said Norman Bastian, president of the center's board. "For a lot of the seniors who come here, this is their only entertainment and the only time they get out. They enjoy this place."

Officials expect groundbreaking in early spring in the hope that the project will be completed in time for winter activities.

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