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The city is considering abandoning a Cayuga Island right of way and splitting the land between the two adjacent property owners -- but at least one resident is saying the land, which is on the Niagara River shoreline, would be better used as a park.

The unimproved strip of land, 66 feet wide and 180 feet long, is at the southern end of South 86th Street. Two weeks ago, the Planning Board recommended abandoning the property. The City Council set a public hearing for 7 p.m. Feb. 20.

The city cannot sell a right of way. If it decides there is no public use for the property, it can only abandon it, giving half each to the owners of adjoining property. The city would retain an easement because a sewer line runs through the property.

But LaSalle-area resident John Mikula thinks the city should hold onto the property for a pocket park because it is one of only a few places owned by the city with access to the Niagara River shoreline.

"I think we should keep that property and never let it go. It belongs to all of us. It wouldn't take anything to maintain it," he said.

The request for abandonment was made for Walter I. Czapla of 8603 W. Rivershore Drive. Morree M. Levine, his attorney, said Czapla mistakenly paid property taxes on the right of way for years.

Assistant Corporation Counsel Thomas M. O'Donnell said almost 30 years ago Czapla asked for the property, which the city wouldn't abandon but agreed to lease to him for 10 years. In 1993, O'Donnell said, the property was mistakenly added to Czpla's assessment. The error was corrected this year.

Robert W. Cook, the other owner whose property abuts the right of way, said that although he didn't request the abandonment, he favors it.

"We've been maintaining it for so long, it just seems crazy not to own it," he said.

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