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Hamburg picks a site for possible ice rink

The Town of Hamburg has identified a site for its proposed ice rink and recreation center – part of the former South Shore Country Club, at the corner of Southwestern Boulevard and Camp Road.

And, after having little public discussion on the public/private multi-sport center in more than a year, the Town Board scheduled a public meeting to air the plans. It will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. May 18 at the Senior Community Center on Southwestern Boulevard.

"We can't schedule a public hearing with no due diligence being done," Town Supervisor Steven Walters said at Monday's meeting of the Town Board. "Then we'd probably have an editorial saying that we didn't know what we were doing."

"I think it's very important to get all the people involved," Councilman Tom Best Jr. said, adding that the town is not able to release some details about the project. "I promise you, at least this part of the board, will be giving you everything we can legally put out regarding this project, the good and the bad."

David Homes has submitted a proposal to the town for a mixed-use development at the former golf course site, that would include residential housing and retail.

Walters said the town has an agreement with the developer to acquire 20 acres for the sportsplex, which would include two ice rinks, a field house and gymnasium.

The public meeting will be an open house, with drawings and information on the proposed public/private venture that is estimated to cost $25 million to $30 million, the supervisor said. Residents will have a chance to ask questions.

"We look forward to being able to answer questions, for the public to see the work we have done," Walters said. "This is by no means a completed project. We still have more steps to do."

Hamburg moves forward on sportsplex but won't talk about it

Among the steps is accepting the final feasibility study, which is being completed by Sportstar, the Toronto firm the town hired to develop the sportsplex.

Under the agreement with Sportstar, the town would pay the company $110,000 for the demographic analysis, $15,000 for the feasibility and financial analysis and $20,000 to secure a letter of intent to buy the property.

"There's a lot of work left to do. We think this is the appropriate time for the public to be able to see where we are, provide their input on how to proceed, if to proceed," Walters said.

Meanwhile, the town has had another proposal for a private, twin-rink facility.

The Kaleta group, with Liberatore Management Group and Ellicott Development, is proposing to build an addition to the former McKinley Park Inn on McKinley Parkway near the McKinley Mall to house the rinks.

Best, the councilman, said there will not be two ice rink facilities in the town, and the town has to take into consideration the Kaleta Group's proposal, and whether it is worth the risk to town taxpayers to go with the public-private facility.

"This is too important. It could be a lot of money. It's got to be done right," Best said.

In Hamburg, dueling rinks carry different risks for taxpayers

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