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Town OKs fund raising for band shell

Lancaster, like its neighbors in Amherst, Cheektowaga and Hamburg, may one day have its own band shell to showcase homegrown musical talents.

The Town Board informally gave the go-ahead Monday to members of the Lancaster Town Band to begin soliciting private funding for an estimated $150,000 outdoor facility that would be located on town-owned land adjacent to the Town Youth Bureau on Artel Metz Way off Aurora Street.

Band officials presented their proposal for the Richard E. Pascucci Memorial Band Shell to the Town Board during its work session Monday. Pascucci, a longtime music teacher and Lancaster High School band director before his retirement in 1992, was director of the Lancaster Town Band for 25 years. He died in 2002.

The band, which celebrated its 60th season this year, performs 12 outdoor concerts each summer in locations ranging from Marino Gazebo in Como Park to the Lancaster Village Square. Town Supervisor Robert H. Giza said the band is long overdue for a permanent outdoor facility.

"I've been on board for this for a long time," Giza said. "It's been one of my goals to get a band shell."

Giza said he would like to see construction begin on the band shell by the spring but warned band officials that the town would be limited in its abilities to help financially with the project. Giza said he would ask an outside grant writer hired by the town to pursue whatever other government funding might be available for the project.

Band officials Monday offered a conceptual rendering of the proposed band shell, which would be about 30 feet tall at its highest point, 60 feet wide and about 50 feet deep. It would include architectural features found on the neighboring Town Youth Bureau facility.

The band is under the direction of Richard Goss, director of the band program at the high school. Band officials expect the project to take about 21 months to go from planning to final construction, which is tentatively set for the spring or summer of 2007.

Meanwhile, Giza Monday reiterated his call for town and Depew residents to come up with an alternative use for the Depew branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library. The library was one of nearly two dozen local branches ordered closed by the county library board.

Giza said the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency recently offered to contribute $30,000 to keep the branch open through the end of the year. Giza said officials have estimated it will cost about $62,000 to keep the library open until then. Otherwise, he said, the library is slated to close at the end of this month.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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