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Lockport School Board sets Jan. 12 referendum on buying former Speedway Park for storage

LOCKPORT – The Board of Education voted this week to hold a referendum Jan. 12 on whether to purchase the vacant former Speedway Park for use as a district storage building.

The purchase price would be $177,000 for the 27,000-square-foot metal building at 400 Corinthia St., on the edge of Outwater Park.

“It’s like a pole barn type of structure,” said Deborah A. Coder, assistant superintendent for finance and management services.

The former indoor go-kart track is owned by Vito Caputo of Toronto, who bought it for $150,000 at a 2006 auction after M&T Bank foreclosed on the previous owner’s mortgage. The city currently assesses it at $152,500. The building sits on a 2.85-acre lot.

Coder said the district would pay for the building, and an estimated $55,000 worth of repairs and upgrades, out of a capital reserve account established in 2005. Thus, the purchase would not increase taxes nor cause the district to borrow money, Coder said.

The district wants the building for storage of out-of-season equipment – lawn mowers in the winter, snow-removal equipment in the summer – as well as bulk items such as salt, topsoil and reams of paper.

The district currently leases space for that storage at Harrison Place, the city-controlled former auto parts plant at Walnut and Washburn streets. The $36,000-a-year, three-year lease expires June 30.

Coder said Speedway Park has a good roof, but there are some dented exterior panels, and the overhead doors need to be replaced to improve security.

If the voters approve the purchase, the deal probably will close six to eight weeks after the referendum. And if it is defeated?

“I suppose we’d have to renew the lease” at Harrison Place,” Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said.

Voting will occur from noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 12 at the same polling sites normally used for the May budget referendum and School Board election.