by Larry Austin
The number of teenage patrons at Reality Café, the town's youth center, tailed off over the summer, and the town is hoping for greater attendance when the center opens next week after a short hiatus.
At a work session on Aug. 15, the Grand Island Town Board briefly discussed visits to the center that Councilman Ray Billica called "really low."
Supervisor Peter McMahon read a report on attendance that said the center saw more than 300 visitors in March, but 176 in April and 80 in May.
"So is this something that we ought to be continuing?" Billica asked the other members of the council "You have to evaluate your programs. If your program is meeting the needs of the people, you continue it or you expand it."
"We'd like to make it go again, because it was really successful," said Phyllis Didion, a longtime recreation leader at Reality Café, located at the Nike Base on Whitehaven Road. She suggested parents should stop in the drug and alcohol-free center to see what it's like, or to volunteer. She called it "a positive thing on the Island." Former regulars to the center still stop by to see what's going on, she said.
"They'll stop in, and they want to see the old place where they used to hang out," Didion said. "They're still close to those friends that they met here at Reality Café, where they solidified a friendship."
In decisions made Tuesday at the Town Board's monthly meeting:
•The board voted 5-0 to authorize the supervisor to sign a cost-sharing agreement with the Grand Island Central School District for the appraisal of Town Hall Terrace by KLW Group.
According to the agreement, Town Hall Terrace Associates at 2255 Center Terrace, has challenged its assessment. To defend the town in the proceeding, the town has asked for an appraisal by KLW Group that will not exceed $2,500. The town has asked the school district to split the cost with the town.
•The board set a public hearing for 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, to hear citizen input on proposed final plat approval for New England Estates, phase I.
•The board accepted the low bid of $114,711 from Fairway Contracting for the wastewater pump station No. 6 forcemain replacement on Baseline Road.
•The board appointed William Shaw of Grand Island to the position of code enforcement officer.
•Code enforcement officer Doug Learman advised the board that owners of the former Serenitea Cottage and Gift Shop at 2014 Grand Island Blvd. have proposed to move the Grand Island Credit Union to that location.
Learman said no modifications to the building or site are planned. The change of use from a restaurant to offices requires fewer parking spaces, Learman said. He and Town Engineer Bob Westfall recommended that the board waive the revised site plan requirements.
•The Town Board approved wireless communication tower permits for Crown Castle USA Inc.
The board renewed permits for existing towers at the Bedell Road bike path and on Staley Road. Councilwoman Mary Cooke said the permits were first tabled on Feb. 7.
"It's probably one of our longest running tables, but they finally completed the work," Cooke said. "We didn't renew because they were not cooperating really easily with us to get some work done. So, finally, that work has been done and I'm most pleased that we're able to renew those permits tonight after seven, eight months of waiting."
The center opens Thursday, Sept. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 16, from 6 to 9 p.m.