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West Seneca halts spending on new library/community center

West Seneca is calling a halt to spending on its $14.93 million library and community center project – nine weeks before it was to open.

The move by the Town Board Monday night is in response to a petition filed Feb. 16, requesting a public referendum on the town's plan to issue an additional $5.1 million bonds for the project.

During the pause in spending, the board ordered a financial review of the project.

"This comprehensive review will look at very specific directives related to the project and result in a detailed report outlining a responsible path forward to successfully complete the project and limit the exposure of the town and taxpayers," Town Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan said, in a news release on Monday.

The review will outline the status of construction, project costs to date, costs necessary to complete the building, legal obligations under existing contracts, and ability to complete portions of the work to save money.

The review also will look into costs associated with stopping work, available savings by deleting or modifying portions of the work and options in the event financing is voted down during the referendum.

Meegan said in the news release that she asked for the report to be completed in two weeks to "prevent increased project costs and potential legal actions against the town."

The project was to be an expansion of the town library, next to Town Hall on Union Road.

It grew into a community-town office center – including a cafe, Chamber of Commerce offices and community spaces, as well as offices for the town attorney, finance and human resources departments. Town Recreation Department offices are to be in the new building, along with a half-court children’s space with a nine-foot basketball hoop.

Town Board meetings also are to be held in the new center.

"When the plans were presented to the public, it was a library," resident Karen Lucachik said Monday at the meeting. "The public did not know."

The town has been awarded several grants, but grant money does not come in at one time, officials have said.

The town also plans to use $1.4 million of an energy performance contract toward the construction.

West Seneca residents seek a public vote on new library/community center

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