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CANISIUS HIGH MULLS SPORTS FACILITY IN WEST SENECA

Canisius High School is considering a plan to develop a centralized athletic facility for its students in West Seneca.

Stressing that the proposal is only at the conceptual stage, the school held an informational meeting Tuesday at Gregor's Garden Grove in West Seneca, looking for feedback from area residents.

"Our desire is to centralize our facilities," Rev. James Higgins, president of Canisius High School, told the residents who turned out for the meeting. "It will add more of a sense of community."

Higgins said the school's teams now lead a "nomadic" existance, traveling to other sites for games and practices because the school simply does not have enough room.

Initial plans call for the development of 64 acres on property owned by Mecca Farms on Clinton Street, and include three baseball diamonds, a football field and a track and field area.

The project will take up to 10 years to complete, Higgins said.

Many of those in attendance opposed the plan, citing environmental, traffic and quality of life issues.

"I don't want to see this on Clinton Street," resident Don Grasso said. "What's the benefit to us? We love the green space. We love the quality of life."

Some residents expressed concern that the project would eliminate a major part of the town's diminishing farmland.

Evelyn Hicks, of Concerned Citizens for Responsible Growth, a local activist group in West Seneca, said the land should remain farmland.

A number of residents said they believed the facility could potentially bring business to the community.

The Clinton Street location is the same site that Buffalo Niagara Sports LLC had recently considered for a $40 million mega sports complex.

The group is considering an alternative site for that project, at the old Seneca Mall site.

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