Niagara Gazette

Local News

December 18, 2012

Lew-Port lays out land sale requirements

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston-Porter district officials are moving forward with plans to sell land to the Town of Lewiston for the construction of a multi-use recreation and senior center.

The district's school board authorized Superintendent Christopher Roser and attorney Elizabeth Holden to finalize a letter of intent, which they reviewed Tuesday, to the Lewiston Town Board.

"Negotiations can commence from there," Roser told his board.

The document outlines the particular desires of the district in possibly selling 10 acres of land for the building and its adjoining parking lot. They've been discussing the sale of land along Creek Road in front of the high school for the project and set a price of $5,000 per acre.

The price is considerably lower than the property is worth, a factor which could be argued as the district gifting land to the town. To avoid the classification, though, district officials are instead seeking preferential use once the building is completed.

The district is proposing the town allow its children the rights to use the main athletic fields between the hours of 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. weeknights during school sport seasons to help offset the reduced price.

Holden said the district could use the reduced price, add in the services received, and avoid gifting, a process which requires a public referendum.

Roser has been vocal about not wanting to ask for a higher amount from the town, estimated to be about $10,000 per acre, because it would come from many of the same taxpayers who finance the school district.

Members of the board, in allowing Roser and his negotiating team to move forward, gave their approval of his reasoning.

"I paid particular mind to the preferential times and use sections," board member Keith Fox said. "If this goes through as is, I'll be real happy with getting $5,000 (per acre)."

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