Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

April 4, 2013

Academy Park structures debated in Lewiston

Niagara Gazette — Academy Park has long stood in the Village of Lewiston as an open air, recreation beacon noticeable to those who enter or leave the 1-square-mile village from the east. After Tops, it's the first thing people see driving along Center Street.

Some officials are concerned, though, the Welcome Center and chamber of commerce headquarters, the bandstand and band shell and the winter time ice rink attraction create a wall of sorts, separating the inviting openness of the park from the people who may want to use it.

Addressing the issues will likely be reserved for a new parks master plan, which the village board could approve as early as its next meeting April 15.

"I think there needs to be a master plan," Marianne Gittermann, village recreation director, said. "I think the village really needs to take the lead on this. We need to talk to the many organizations which use the park and find out what they really need, what they'd use and come up with some sort of recommendations."

Thursday's discussion about the future of Academy Park between the village's parks, recreation and conservation board and the board of trustees came about after Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Reiter approached the village about constructing a permanent structure in the park to serve as a warming area while the ice rink was in service.

The popular rink, which operates primarily in December and January under town recreation department control, has used a temporary tent to offer an escape from the biting winter air, as well as host the refreshment stand and skate rental.

But the tent isn't in the best of shape and would likely need replacing in the coming years should the town continue to operate the rink.

"Is it the best location?" village planning board Chairman David Giusiana said. "Could it be used by the others who use the park, like the other organizations? Those questions need to be answered."

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