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Town wants to buy acreage for recreation

The Town of Orchard Park is looking to purchase a 38-acre parcel near the intersection of Abbott and Big Tree roads to add to its recreation properties.

Under the purchase offer, described during a meeting of the Town Board on Wednesday night, the town would pay Cimato Brothers $500,000 for property that had been approved to be subdivided into at least 70 suburban homes and two other lots.

But the subdivision was created on paper before the advent of current environmental standards, Councilwoman Nan Ackerman said. It would be difficult to build under today's regulations.

The town, meanwhile, hopes to receive a state grant for $250,000 to apply toward the purchase. It also could spend as much as another $20,000 in closing costs. Even if the town does not receive the grant, it plans to go ahead with the purchase.

But, said Ackerman, the town expects to receive the grant. Orchard Park received a similar grant in 2005, which paid for the acquisition of the 53-acre Stanley property.

"We are assured [the grant] is very, very likely to be received," she said.

The site is "contiguous to land we own [and] has a stream running through it," Ackerman said. "It could be part of our recreation plan, and it could solve a tremendous amount of problems with drainage in the Bussendorfer area."

Flooding has been a persistent problem in the Bussendorfer Road area just south of the town's Brush Mountain Park -- which the Cimato property adjoins -- and the Stanley property.

Supervisor Mary Travers Murphy called the area "ideal parkland" and said the town could "loop trails through it and tackle drainage at the same time."

A proposal for a subdivision at the site "would wreak havoc on existing drainage," she said. "But with buying it, we can use it [to mitigate drainage problems]."

Ackerman said the final details of the sales contract are still being worked out with Anthony Cimato, president of Cimato Brothers, and his representatives.

The Town Board also approved a measure extending its contract for garbage and recycling pickup with NEI (Natural Environments Inc.), which has had the town's solid-waste contract since 2001.

The board picked up its option for 2008 but is forcing NEI to make some changes: It will be picking up garbage and recyclables separately, but on the same day, Ackerman said.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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