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Planning Board approves new Seneca Babcock Community Center

A scaled-back plan for a new Seneca Babcock Community Center won approval Monday from the Buffalo Planning Board, after funding delays caused the nonprofit community group and its architects to reduce the size of the project.

The Seneca Babcock Community Association wants to construct a 12,593-square-foot brick and metal-panel building at 82 Harrison St., transforming the vacant site of Public School 26, which has been demolished and cleaned up.

The $2.5 million project would feature a 7,644-square-foot gym, along with sports equipment, bleachers, restrooms, locker rooms, storage rooms, an office and parking. The building would include computer classrooms and study rooms for students to do homework.

It's aimed at supporting school-aged children, from six to 18, with sports and recreation activities.

"It's definitely needed in that neighborhood," said Planning Board member Martha Lamparelli, who said she once worked at School 26. "It's a great project. They're waiting for it and have been waiting for it."

The city had approved a larger project a year ago, but the development team had to downsize because of financing problems.

The planned setup leaves room for the parking and building to be expanded once additional funding is secured.

"This is kind of a reboot for this project," said Raymond Bednarski, president and CEO of Kideney Architects.

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