by Joshua Maloni
Gary Hall's mission is clear: The Waste Technology Services president and CEO wants to build a new recreation center for the Lewiston community -- its children, in particular. But Hall doesn't want to finance the $2 million project at the expense of village residents, who asked him Monday night to relocate the project from its planned site behind the Red Brick Municipal Building.
At the monthly Village Board meeting, Onondaga Street-area neighbors expressed concern over the size of the building, its operational cost to taxpayers, and its environmental impact. Following former Mayor Richard Soluri's Johnnie Cochran-inspired comment, "If it doesn't fit, you don't permit," Hall said, "I certainly don't want to do anything the local folks don't want. That's not my intention."
Following a second wave of comments, Hall conceded, "I would never do this if you don't want it here. We'll find a better place to do it."
When Mayor Terry Collesano asked the audience of about 60 if they would prefer a new location for the recreation center (he proposes the Artpark plateau), they clapped vigorously in approval.
Hall wants to create an indoor facility capable of offering tennis, soccer, basketball and professional coaching.
"I just think it's really important to support our local community," he said. Later, Hall added, "I just think it's important to have a place for the kids to stay active."
In addition to the plateau, Hall mentioned the Pletcher Road park area across from Stella Niagara as a possible relocation site. Residents suggested he also consider the Lewiston-Porter campus and Frontier Lanes.
Read the full story in Saturday's Sentinel.