Salamanca Vets Park sublease approved, 303-27
SALAMANCA — Residents of the Salamanca City Central School District on Tuesday approved a referendum to allow the school to sublease Veterans Memorial Park from the city for 50 years.
The resolution passed with a 303-27 tally with two blank votes, a voter turnout around what the school expected for a referendum of this nature.
“The percent for the Vets Park proposal was roughly 92 percent in favor of,” said District Superintendent Robert Breidenstein. “That in terms of percentage is a strong showing that this was a well thought-out plan, well communicated to the community and a concept that was collaboratively reached by the city, Seneca Nation and school district.”The positive response from the community gave the green light to begin formal planning to propose a facilities project at the park, including upgrades to athletic fields and other elements in need of renovation.
“We’re excited to be in the planning process,” Breidenstein said. “We’re meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the architects, engineers and district personnel to discuss the continued work for Phase I and Phase II construction already underway and to talk about what’s going to happen over the next two months to get community input into the type of improvements for Vets Park as well as other improvements throughout the district.”
In addition to the sublease, the referendum included a proposal to purchase two properties adjacent to the southwest end of Seneca Intermediate School for $75,000. The space from the properties would allow for a new main entrance, parking lot and drop off area for the school.
This resolution also passed, 296-36, about 90 percent in favor.
“The acquisition of the two Fern Avenue properties will allow us to a larger parking area for staff and parents as well as redesign a safer bus entrance for Seneca School,” Breidenstein said. “They can have their own separate entrance and a unique identity as a school. That was something the community wanted us to consider for the current project and this will allow us to further redefine that and make it even better.”
Dubbed a “properties acquisition project,” signing the sublease and acquiring the two properties next to Seneca would have no additional tax impact on the community.
In preparation for Tuesday’s vote, school district representatives presented seven community forums throughout the Salamanca area between Nov. 1 and Dec. 12 to inform voters of the referendum and answer any questions.
“As we talked numerous times over the seven community meetings and multiple formal conversations with the community, the Vets Park partnership is an investment in our community so the facility is a jewel in the city of Salamanca and Allegany Territory,” Breidenstein said.
Potential highlights to a Vets Park project could include new and repositioned fields to allow baseball and lacrosse to be played simultaneously, renovations to concession stands, restrooms, parking, lights, sound system, playground and scoreboard and newly constructed team rooms and storage areas.Beginning in January, Breidenstein said several community meetings will be scheduled to get district residents’ input on the design process, such as what specifically the fields, structures and grounds will look like.
“We will be discussing concepts from the seven community forums that we had about this project and what the community was hoping to see,” he said.
A potential capital project vote is expected to be put before the community in April 2019.
Informal discussions on the potential renovations of the park began about 15 months ago between the city, Nation and district with the first formal discussion held in January 2018. The Nation approved the sublease proposal in March followed by city approval in August.
“This is a strong testament to the cooperation that we experienced in this project between the Seneca Nation, the city government and our school district to really invest in our community,” Breidenstein said. “We’re very excited and pleased and looking forward to planning the next step.”
WHAT DOES THIS PROJECT MEAN TO YOU?
SALAMANCA CITY CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Veteran's Memorial Park Referendum Project
Salamanca City Central School District
Properties Acquisition Project
Preparing the Building Blocks for our Future
On December 18, 2018 the Salamanca City Central School District residents will be voting on a “NO ADDITIONAL TAX IMPACT” project. This project will allow the District to sign a 50-year sublease of Veteran’s Park and purchase two properties adjacent to the Seneca Intermediate School. In preparation for the Capital Project which will be put before the community in March 2019, the District will need to secure the sublease for Veteran’s Park and purchase the two adjoining properties on Fern Avenue. The concept of signing a sublease on Veteran’s Park is a product of the District’s collaboration with the Seneca Nation and the City of Salamanca and has unanimous support from both groups. The Nation, City and District have been working together to create solutions to address the District and community’s current needs. The goal is to invest in the Veteran’s Park facilities and to improve our exisiting facilities to support our community in a fiscally responsible way.
The sublease of Veteran’s Park and purchase of two properties will be acquired with existing funds from the District. This means the project will be paid for with “NO ADDITIONAL TAX IMPACT” on the community.
Property One: $60,000
Property Two: $15,000
Total Cost of Project: $75,000
Tax Impact: ZERO
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Q. How did the District decide to sublease Veteran’s Park?
A. Seeing the potential of renovating Veteran’s Park, the District entered into informal discussions with the Seneca Nation and the City of Salamanca in the Fall of 2017. In January of 2018, the first formal discussion was hosted in the Seneca Nation Council Chambers with the Nation, the City and the District. Through joint collaboration, the concept of a 50-year sublease of Veteran’s Park was approved by the Nation in March 2018 and in August by the Salamanca City Council. On October 29, 2018, the District adopted a resolution supporting a referendum for December 18, 2018.
Q. Why does the District need a sublease on Veteran’s Park?
A. The 50-year sublease of Veteran’s Park on territory is required by law for the District to improve the facilities and reduce the financial burden for the City. The District has the immediate means to upgrade and maintain the athletic and storage facilities at Veteran’s Park for the duration of the lease with no additional costs to the community. The State requires the District to have a long-term lease to improve the facilities. The December referendum to approve the sublease will satisfy the NYS requirement and allow future site improvements, anticipated to be put before the community in March 2019, which include athletic field upgrades to allow baseball and lacrosse to be played simultaneously, renovations to the concession stands, restrooms, parking, lights, sound system, playground, scoreboard, team rooms and storage areas. Future upgrades will benefit student athletes, and civic and cultural events such as the Pow Wow.
Q. Why purchase the properties near the Intermediate School?
A. These properties will allow improved egress, safety and access to the new entrance at the Seneca Intermediate School, especially at arrival and dismissal times. Currently, the back parking lot for the school is limited and the relocation of the school’s entrance warrants more space. Acquiring these properties will also allow for an increased identity for the Intermediate School as the new entrance will be highlighted by more parking/outdoor space.
Q. Does the Seneca Nation and the City of Salamanca support this project?
A. The Nation and City unanimously support this project. In August of 2018, the City Recreation Commission and the Common Council unanimously approved adding the District to the lease of Veteran’s Park.
Q. Why is this project important?
A. Voting yes on this project will allow the District to move forward with planned improvements to Veteran’s Park and the Seneca Intermediate School. These improvements will be put before the community in March 2019. A positive vote now will allow for these future renovations.
Q. How do I find out more about this project?
A. The District will hold several community meetings to inform voters about this project. The dates and times of these meeting are below. Please also see our website www.salamancany.org/vetsparkproject and our Facebook and Twitter pages for more information.