Weekly Feature



2018-10-11 / Local News

Residents question board on location of football fields, inclusion of Powers Road sewers

by CHRIS GRAHAM
Editor

The placement of Orchard Park Little Loop football fields and the possible implementation of sewers on Powers Road were on the minds of residents during the Oct. 3 Town Board meeting.

The location of the fields has become an ongoing talking point between town officials after finding out two fields would need to be moved off the Brush Mountain Park property due to changes made to the design of the forthcoming community activity center because of wetland concerns.

In an attempt to move the fields, a 36-acre town-owned parcel on Webster Road was suggested in the summer. This was opposed by several neighbors who made their feelings known in July, saying the fields would bring lights to the residential neighborhood and increase noise and traffic.

During the town’s Sept. 26 work session, Town Engineer Wayne Bieler went over a potential plan to move two fields to Webster with no lights and add two fields to the Orchard Park Soccer Complex on Milestrip Road. The plan would see a practice field and playing field for both soccer and football at each site.

This proposal was met with criticism from Councilmen Michael Sherry and Eugene Majchrzak. Both men stressed this decision is about addressing fields that were lost due to the center’s construction, not to give an opportunity for the two entities to expand.

While no decision has been made by the board on the placement, Sean Kelley, a resident of Ferndale Drive — a road near the suggested parcel — looked to the board for an update.

“We just don’t believe that that’s the best place for those football fields,” said Kelley, who cited light pollution, noise pollution, and increased traffic and safety concerns as reasons for opposing the potential move.

Bieler said meetings have been held with the user groups of the fields while also incorporating concerns from residents near Webster.

Kelley went on to say that the soccer complex would be a far better option for lights, noise and absorbing a larger volume of traffic.

The resident, who spoke back at the meeting in July with others from the surrounding neighborhood, said he doesn’t want the town to fall back to putting everything at Webster.

“I’m worried that as time marches on and we get the pressure from deadlines and wanting to build something quickly, we tightly wed ourselves to some original ideas,” Kelley said. “We as citizens, and those who are stakeholders in this — and are directly impacted by this development — we would like to participate in this decision-making process.”

Supervisor Patrick Keem reiterated that the only work that has been done on the site is placing fill from digging two retention ponds at Brush Mountain Park.

“Everything is still be evaluated,” Keem said. “We try to be transparent and we certainly listen to the people.”

Councilman Michael Sherry added that all stakeholders will be taken into consideration regarding the choice.

The board also addressed the sewers issue on Powers Road.

Powers Road resident John Vinti, who spoke earlier in the meeting to see if sewers could be put in near the intersection of Draudt

Road through Community Development Block

Grant funding, added he wants the town to do something in that area to aid the residents who have been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for sewers that don’t exist for years.

“We read that Burmon Drive has sewers, and now the town is looking at 75 miles of

50-year-old-plus piping that they’re going to replace and fix, and still we’re paying into the system here for sewers we’re not using,” he said. “We don’t have them. There has to be some solution here.”

Sherry said when the town was alerted to the problem, there was an examination of if the sewers could be placed in that area, or if the residents who have been paying for years for no sewers can be made whole.

“We’re continuing to look into that because it doesn’t sound right,” Sherry said.

Vinti, who has been a resident of Powers since 1979, said the issue is growing tiresome.

“We just can’t be ignored. It’s about time we get sewers,” said Vinti, surrounded by neighbors from Powers.

Keem told Vinti that the concern was discussed during the town’s capital projects meeting. He added the capital projects budget hasn’t been settled yet on which projects the town will allocate money toward.

The next meeting of the Town Board will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in Town Hall, 4295 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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