Niagara Gazette


May 15, 2013

Lewiston to hold referendum on planned civic center

Niagara Gazette — Citing a desire to hear as many voices as possible, the Lewiston Town Board will hold a public referendum July 15 concerning the bonding related to its $8 million civic center.

Supervisor Steve Reiter and councilmen Al Bax and Michael Marra approved the scheduling of the referendum Monday, allowing voters to decide whether the town is authorized to borrow the money needed to purchase the land from the Lewiston-Porter School District and build the facility on the 10 acres.

“I see nothing wrong with a referendum,” Marra said. “With the project costing $8 million, it just makes perfect sense.”

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 15, a Monday, for the special election.

Filling the town’s board meeting room at special meetings since March, the public has largely supported the project as vocal residents of Lewiston, Porter and Niagara Falls – and some areas even farther away – regularly promised support and several local trade unions and contractors have promised in kind or at cost services in constructing the building.

Marra said he’s never seen any project receive the public support this civic center has experienced.

“I’ve been a representative in Lewiston for nine years, and I’ve never seen a project get this level of support ever,” Marra said.

Sure, there’s support from the athletic types in the area, from those looking for a new outlet in the Niagara region to practice football, soccer, baseball, softball, basketball and lacrosse indoors and near the Lew-Port campus. But many who packed the meeting halls hailed from parts outside Lewiston.

When it comes down to it, their support is only ceremonial, though. Lewiston residents will be the only ones allowed to cast a vote when the time comes and will determine whether the town will be able to borrow the money it needs.

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