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Lancaster Town Board hires appraiser for Dawson Field

The Lancaster Town Board wants to see how much Dawson Field is worth before it decides whether to purchase the historic ballpark from the Depew Union Free School District.

So on Monday night, it approved the hiring of an appraiser for $1,800 –  but it was not a unanimous vote and discord was also registered by a few residents who attended the regular town board meeting.

"The field is in terrible shape and there is no parking," said Ronald Ruffino, council member. "Why are we going to waste $1,800? It needs tons and tons of work, and there is no parking."

The town has been searching for land to build soccer fields, and Ruffino said a parcel has been identified in southern Lancaster.

"The soccer league is in dire need of space and they have been asking for more fields for years," said Johanna Coleman, Lancaster surpervisor. "The Depew school board indicated it would prefer to keep it park land as opposed to selling it to a commercial venture."

Dawson Field is a 6.57 acre recreation field at Columbia and Olmstead avenues. It was used by Depew High School for varsity baseball games and was the original site of  the school's football field.

Council member Matthew Walter weighed in on the side of caution.

"I'm all about keeping my options open," Walter said. "What's it worth – $200,000, $50,000? I laid it out on Photoshop today, and it would hold full soccer field, a mini-mite field and 45 parking places. This resolution is only to get an appraisal. There's no saying what we'll use it for. We need tennis courts, too."

In voting against the resolution, Ruffino said, "My role is fiscal responsibility."

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