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Neighbors don't want marina built

A group of 10 neighbors who own land along the Erie Canal told Town Board members Tuesday that they did not want the town to buy state Canal Authority land for a town marina near their homes.

During the special meeting, landowners urged the board not to pursue grants to buy the 27-acre West Canal Marina park on Tonawanda Creek and Townline roads.

Texas B. Ellis of Tonawanda Creek Road and his wife, Deborah, said after the vote that they were happy the Town Board decided not to place a busy marina in their backyard. Texas Ellis said the couple spent $30,000 cleaning up the land, which abuts property owned by the Canal Authority.

He said he did not want to see the area near his house become as busy as it is on the Amherst side. "What goes on on the other side of the canal, I don't want that at my back door," he said.

The Town Board voted, 4-0, to not pursue grants to buy the park. Instead, members voted, 4-0, to pursue grants to buy 3.3 acres of land on Campbell Boulevard across from Town Hall.

Owners of the property on Campbell Boulevard are asking $99,000 for that land.

Town Supervisor James A. Riester said West Canal Marina is state property that the county is leasing. "Being that it's state property," he said, "anybody can access it right now."

Councilman Joseph M. Frawley, although he did vote with the rest of the board not to pursue grants for the property, said he and his colleagues were missing out on a great opportunity. "The waterfront is very valuable for recreation," he said.

According to the Niagara County Legislature's Web site, West Canal Marina covers more than 27 acres of land. There are two large shelters and three smaller shelters available for rental as well as a playground and restroom facilities, it notes. The pier along the canal can be used for fishing or docking, according to the Web site.

About 15 members of the public were present at the session in Town Hall.

e-mail: pkowalik@buffnews.com

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