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Soccer complex still being kicked around

The Town of West Seneca is still trying to figure out how it's going to deal with taking over its own soccer complex. The process is still resulting in some ruckuses.

Supervisor Paul Clark said at Monday night's Town Board meeting that he gave an approval for the West Seneca edition of the Relay for Life to be held at the complex on Seneca Street on June 3 and 4.

Some neighbors of the soccer complex, who have been complaining for years about crowds and noise at the park, aren't happy about the situation, although they're careful not to bash the event itself.

"It makes you look bad," Rudy Russo, one of the leaders of the park neighbors, said after the meeting. "We're not against fighting cancer. But the event is 24 hours, people camping out, cooking out and with speakers."

The Relay, which is held at numerous locations around Western New York and across the country, is a major fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.

What really irritated some residents was that the event was approved by Clark, not the entire Town Board.

Clark said he took the action only because the event organizers needed an answer on whether they could stage the event there in time to start organizing it.

"They had to have an answer," Clark said. "But we'll establish some guidelines that will be more easily read and interpreted so [groups] don't need special approval. We need to develop our guidelines."

Scheduling of special events had been a sore point with neighbors, and the town has promised to exert control.

The soccer complex is caught up in negotiations between the West Seneca Soccer Association -- which has run it since its inception -- and the town. The town is taking over operations, including scheduling.

Clark and Councilman Chris Osmanski took the opportunity to attempt to rebut the complex's critics.

Osmanski said that although the Soccer Association has not been able to keep up with lease payments, a factor in the town's takeover, the group has essentially taken care of maintenance, operations and utilities at the town park since it opened.

"As a broad picture, it has been a very successful park," he said.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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