Weekly Feature

2006-04-05 / Front Page

Eggertsville Community Center gets go ahead

by VICTORIA R. SPAGNOLI Associate Editor

It looks like the Eggertsville Community Center is a reality at last.

After more than a decade of attempts to get a center up and going, residents in the older section of town will finally have a community center to call their own.

The Town Board Monday unanimously agreed to purchase Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4110 Bailey Ave., in Amherst for $530,000.

Officials also agreed to authorize a $500,00 bond - to be paid over five years - for the purchase.

The building needs many updates and renovations in order to convert it to a community center. So, the board also agreed to spend about $776,520 to put a new roof on the building, add several new bathrooms and bring the structure up to code compliance.

Much of that money is expected to come from several places - $261,520 from the town's community center account; $15,000 from the sale of a parcel of land on Hendricks Boulevard; $151,682 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds; and $52,998 in savings from the Youth Department.

Although the building needs more renovations, no other money is expected to come from the town. It will be up to the Youth Board and other agencies using the building to fund those repairs and updates.

Joseph Bachovchin, executive director of the Youth Board, put together a draft operating budget of about $478,792 a year for the new center. Worked into that is debt payment for the building and renovations, but it was figured with a $1 million bond paid over 20 years.

Currently the Town Board has only authorized bonding for $500,000 over five years. If the bond is approved, that could change the budget figures.

Bachovchin hopes to operate the center using revenue from the the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo Inc., about $153,960; a $20,000 private donor matching grant per year for five years; $20,000 in matching funds per year for five years; CDBG program; Youth Board contractual services; building rentals; building and room sponsorships; grants; partner agency contributions; and fund-raising events.

In a letter to the board, Bachovchin wrote, "I truly hope the board can see the value in making an investment in the Eggertsville community by approving this proposal. I have done all I can do to make this affordable for the taxpayers."

He said businesses know that becoming profitable not only means reducing costs, but also strategically investing those dollars "to give themselves an edge."

"In the public sector, the same rule applies. Spending money now to invest in this community will, in my opinion, not only save the town money in the future, but the enriched lives this facility can provide will return our investment many times over," he said.

The town now has 60 days to do an environmental inspection of the facility.

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