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Hamburg continues with rink plans with developer, while waiting for Kaleta Group

Hamburg is continuing with plans to develop an ice rink sportsplex with a Canadian firm, despite learning a private group is planning a similar facility in the town.

"We want to see an ice rink built in the town of Hamburg," Town Supervisor Steven Walters said.

The Kaleta Group is finalizing plans with Liberatore Management Group and Ellicott Development for a 186,000-square-foot complex that would include two ice rinks, two multisport fields and be home to the HITS Foundation, a charity founded by former Buffalo Sabre Patrick Kaleta, The Buffalo News learned last week.

Last January, the Town Board met behind closed doors with members of the Kaleta Group and Sportstar Capital of Toronto, Ont. The town decided in July to enter a public-private partnership with Sportstar to buy the property, build the facility and manage it. The town would own the property after several decades.

Town officials said they first learned of the latest Kaleta proposal from news reports. The group has not filed plans with the town, according to Supervising Code Enforcement Officer Kurt Allen.

"We want a facility that can attract tournaments, that can attract outside teams," Walters said, after a Town Board meeting on Monday night.

He said the town will continue to work with Sportstar, which is finalizing a feasibility study on the facility and a purchase contract for the land where it would be built. He said more information on the feasibility study is expected at the end of this week, and then board members would have to review it to see if it is complete. He said he expects the board will discuss the study at a January meeting.

Some have suggested that if another sports-entertainment complex is planned for the town, that might affect the feasibility study.

"We need to have a conversation about what is best for the Town of Hamburg," Town Councilman Thomas Best Jr. said.

If the town decides to cancel the contract, it must pay for work that has already been done by Sportstar, which could total $145,000. That includes $110,000 for a demographic analysis, $15,000 for a feasibility and financial analysis, and $20,000 to secure a letter of intent to buy the property, according to the agreement.

The town still is planning to have a public meeting on the proposal from Sportstar, Walters said, adding he had thought it would have taken place before the end of this year.

But, he said, the town wants a purchase contract for the land in hand before having the meeting.

The preferred spot is the Camp Road-Southwestern Boulevard corridor, he said.

"We want to get 100 percent of the information and then have the public come in and see where we are and be able to ask questions when we have answers," he said.

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