Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — A site plan and environmental review pertaining to the proposed Lewiston Recreation and Senior Center were given approval at special meetings of both the town and planning boards Monday.
Kristin Savard, owner and president of Advanced Design Group, was on hand to answer several questions during the meeting previously expressed by the planning board, including issues of parking, lighting and traffic impacts which would arise from having the center on an otherwise busy road.
Savard said the state Department of Transportation would be responsible for determining if the new center would require extra turning lanes on Creek Road, not her firm or the actual contractors building the facility, should it receive final approval. This will require the project go before the DOT before any permit is issued for the project.
"We were always concerned about traffic," Savard said. "So we solicited traffic counts ... and what was discovered is that the facility will peak on alternate times when current traffic peaks. We will not make (the traffic) any worse."
Figuring out the number of parking spots the center would need was a time-consuming process. Savard said she spent more than 18 months going around to other facilities in the general area, looking at how parking was handled at places like Sahlen's Sports Park in Elma and Sportsplex in North Tonawanda.
"I was a part of a committee ... that went around and studied other facilities," she said. "One of the things we looked at at these other facilities is how much parking are they providing based on the size of the facility. So we took those numbers and compared them with estimated usage ... and came back with a number of spaces needed. We have 253 spaces which our calculations show is consistent with other facilities."
The 253 spots would be dedicated to the recreation side specifically, with more available for senior parking. She said the town could also negotiate with the school board some sort of agreement to provide spill-over parking arrangements on its property, with reciprocal action also available for school events requiring more parking.
The original design also had an inherent flaw, addressed prior to Monday's approval, regarding the doorway to the senior center entrance, which would be separate from the general entryway.
Missing was a wheelchair-accessible ramp, a necessity for any facility let alone one which caters to those who are less mobile. But the oversight wasn't intended, she said, and was fixed in the final design.
"That's our error," she said. "We forgot to put a handicapped accessible ramp for the seniors at the senior door. So that's been taken care of. That was not an intended slight."
The project is far from being set in stone, despite Monday's approvals. The town still needs to complete its negotiations with the school district to purchase the land, a process which has moved at a snail's pace since it was initially proposed in October.
But Lew-Port Superintendent Christopher Roser said negotiations are progressing and could be finalized by spring.
"There's no hurry in the whole thing," he said about the process. "The board is still debating whether it should go to referendum, which would allow us toMug of Roser, Christopher Christopher Roser School still negotiating