Niagara Gazette

April 23, 2013

Lewiston town officials waiting on Lew-Port to give final price on desired property for recreation center

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Progress has come to a screeching halt concerning the Lewiston Civic Center’s construction.

After months of designing the multi-million dollar facility, having public information sessions and trying to find a suitable location for its needs, Supervisor Steve Reiter said he’s simply waiting for the next step to come together.

That step involves the Lewiston-Porter school board, which owns the property Reiter and the center’s steering committee identified as the best spot for a 10-acre multiple sport facility in the town, finally approving its asking price and finalizing documents to sell the space, he said.

“Right now, we’re just waiting for them,” Reiter said. “Our big concern at this moment is we’re just waiting for them to give us their final price. Hopefully that’ll come soon.”

According to draft documents the district is currently finalizing, obtained by the Niagara Gazette, an appraisal of the property located along Creek Road in front of the district’s high school was listed at $80,000.

Though no final price has been confirmed by the district, it’s believed an asking price of $5,000 per acre for a total of 10 acres will be asked for, as well as specific uses for district students during non-peak times.

While the district figures out its next move, Reiter had the town’s external auditor, Pat Brown of Brown & Co., review some financial projections made over the course of the facility’s first five years. He provided his findings publicly Monday before the Lewiston Town Board.

Brown said the data he reviewed was compiled conservatively, with an emphasis on downplaying revenues and overestimating expenses. He didn’t factor any sponsorship income into any figures and drastically reduced any projected concession sales figures.

With those guidelines, he said the facility would only lose an estimated $14,000 in its first year of operation. Year two is expected to turn positive with a projected $29,000 surplus.

“The assumptions we made were conservative and realistic,” Brown said. “We assumed a 5 percent increase each year in expenses and don’t have any sponsorship income coming in.”

The final three years of brown’s projections show the facility earning surpluses of $47,000 (year three), $68,000 (year four) and $93,000 (year five).

Much of the income driving the projections is coming from bringing tournaments to the facility, which would bring people to Lewiston and the surrounding areas, not just from Niagara but from outside the region.

Brown said the projections did a good job forecasting figures for the facility, but one number stood out to him as a possible overestimation. He said the committee’s thought of bringing basketball income to the center likely wouldn’t be as lucrative as originally thought.

He said what was originally expected was scaled back to reflect possible difficulty finding tournaments to host.

“I couldn’t get a good handle on where that money was coming from,” Brown said. “It may take a little longer to develop the tournament draw. I didn’t see any other facilities in the region to compare it to to figure out how it would perform.”

with mug of reiter Steve Reiter Waiting on Lew-Port

Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.