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THINKING 'EXTREME' IN WEST SENECA WITH PLANS FOR A BIG SKATE PARK

Western New York in-line skaters, skateboarders and bikers will soon have a new facility in which to spin their wheels.

A $1.2 million, 90,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor compound, dubbed an "extreme park," is to be constructed on a site off Harlem Road in West Seneca. The town owns the 10-acre property, but will discuss selling it for $150,000 to the owners of Bikes, Blades and Boards. The issue is expected to surface when the Town Board meets Monday night.

"Right now the property has a small baseball diamond on it that is often wet and underwater," said Supervisor Paul T. Clark. "I am hopeful that there will be support from board members to sell this land."

If the sale is approved, West Seneca will soon see a facility quite similar to the Bikes, Blades and Boards park on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Wheatfield, which opened in 1999.

"Our plan is to get the outdoor skate park up and going first. If business is good, we will build the indoor facility this year for winter," said Barbara Cooper, co-owner of the business. Cooper said 50,000 square feet will be dedicated to an outdoor park, and about 40,000 square feet to the indoor facility.

Barbara and Maurice Cooper currently own and operate the facility in Wheatfield, and have built a smaller-scale park in Baltimore.

"We thought that since there was so much interest that we would hit the other side of Buffalo," Cooper said.

"Kids come from all over to use the Wheatfield park -- from Toronto, Cleveland and Rochester as well as Western New York," said Doug Hansgate of Pyramid Brokerage, the developer. "This (West Seneca) park is planned to be the most expansive in the area so far.

"On any given weekend right now there are about 200 to 300 kids going to the Wheatfield facility, and they all have enough space to do their thing," said Hansgate. "It's a great place for the kids to go, be outside, and keep out of the plazas and church parking lots. Plus they get a professional surface to skate on."

Hansford said he hopes to bring six to eight regional in-line skating competitions to the West Seneca facility next year, and maybe even a national competition.

He said the park will be equipped with 12-foot vertical ramps.

He also said he and the Coopers are considering an indoor rock-climbing structure capable of accommodating 100 people.

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