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Nevilly Court veto may be defeated

A tug of war over money for new athletic fields at a planned recreation and education complex in South Buffalo will be the focus of a special Common Council meeting today.

Lawmakers will try to override a mayoral veto that targets $450,000 in capital funding for the Nevilly Court project.

Two lawmakers predicted there will be at least the six votes needed to override the veto when the Council meets at 1:30 p.m.

Nevilly Court has been in the planning phases for several years. The project planned near South Park Avenue would include playing fields, a gymnasium and an educational facility with classroom, library and performance space.

Mayor Byron W. Brown vetoed the Council's push to earmark money for the field turf installation phase of the project.

"Ideally, while I would certainly want to support new fields of facilities in every community within the City of Buffalo, the financial realities dictate that our focus must be geared toward maintaining and improving our existing inventory in these difficult fiscal times," he wrote in his veto message.

The mayor added that no state or federal money has been committed to the Nevilly Court project.

South Council Member Michael P. Kearns, the project's lead sponsor and one of the mayor's chief political foes in City Hall, insisted Monday that Nevilly Court will be able to secure foundation grants and help from private entities.

"This is all about leveraging public dollars to get private dollars," Kearns said.

The athletic fields would be made of all-weather, synthetic turf that would require minimal maintenance and help reduce sports-related injuries, he argued.

Kearns said he's "very confident" there will be enough votes to strike down Brown's veto.

"I'm hoping for nine out of nine [votes]," Kearns said. "This is a great project for the youth and for the entire community."

Council President David A. Franczyk agreed there appear to be enough votes for a successful override, adding that he supports Kearns' push for the funding.

Brown did not veto any other Council additions to the capital budget, allowing nearly $1.4 million in amendments to remain in the plan. The Council additions included money for sidewalk, upgrades, streetscape improvements and new lighting in various neighborhoods.

e-mail: bmeyer@buffnews.com

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