Canoe Point

Creekside Park Again Proposed to Clarence Board

Buffalo News

News Amherst Bureau

January 25, 1996, CITY EDITION

Naturalist developer Frank Parlato was back before the Clarence Town Board Wednesday night, pitching a 23-acre park on Tonawanda Creek that the board turned down in a split vote in September 1992.
    Parlato presented a proposal for "Canoe Point," a new town park on forest and meadowland at the end of Goodrich Road, across the creek from Niagara County.
    He is asking $ 50,000 for the 23 acres, the same as in 1992. The board referred the proposal to the Clarence Conservation Council and Recreation Advisory Committee, promising Parlato an answer by June.
    Parlato asked that the property be appraised, saying he is confident his price is well below its market value. The parcel has about 3,000 feet of creek frontage.
    But unlike three years ago when he talked about circulating petitions to put the parkland purchase to a public referendum, Parlato said Wednesday he will accept the board's decision this time around.
    If the town turns him down again, Parlato said he plans to develop four 5-acre building lots for homes and a pond, while preserving the creek frontage and wooded part of the parcel.
    Parlato is known across Western New York for planning developments that preserve trees and other natural features of land.
    "I sincerely believe this would make an ideal park. Please take a look at it and analyze it once again to determine if there is any possible interest," he told the Clarence board.
    Parlato said the parcel's "unique features," in addition to 3,000 feet of frontage, include mature forest, an open area that could be developed at the town's wishes, and its location on "a 65-mile-long canoe trail."
    Clarence has no other public access to the winding, scenic creek, Parlato said.
    Board members didn't express their feeling about the proposal this time, but four of the five were on the board when it was rejected by a 3-2 vote.
    Voting in favor in 1992 were Democrats Daniel M. Gregorio and Anne L. Case, while Republicans Daniel A. Herberger and John F. Love were opposed.
    At the time, Herberger and Love said the price was too high, the location was too far north, that it would be a security headache, and that it would present an unacceptable insurance liability when the creek ran high.
    Gregorio said town fathers owe it to future generations to preserve park land and public access to the creek and that Parlato's offer was "a good one."
    The deciding vote three years ago was cast by then GOP Supervisor Irving W."Skip" Grenzebach Jr. The supervisor is now Paul McCarthy, an enrolled Republican who ran as a Democrat in November.
    Wednesday, Gregorio said the town's Recreation Advisory Committee, which is studying the town's current and future recreational needs, is due to make a final report in June.
    "This should be part of the mix. If it doesn't go now, then Frank can go out and develop it," said Gregorio, the board's senior member.
    In other business, the Clarence board joined Amherst in supporting a resolution seeking the move of the Williamsville Toll Barrier on the Thruway to a point east of Clarence's Ransom Road -- presumably in neighboring Newstead.
    McCarthy said Newstead officials also support the measure.
    The Amherst Town Board passed the same resolution Monday.
    The campaign to move the toll barrier out of the urbanized
Williamsville-Snyder area is being spearheaded by Assemblyman Richard R. Anderson, R-Amherst, and a task force of government officials from Amherst, Clarence, Cheektowaga, Lancaster, Newstead and the Village of Williamsville.
    The task force, which is now recruiting business, institutional and community support, seeks to relieve traffic problems on local roads and expand the Thruway's toll-free section from Lackawanna to Newstead.
    Currently, motorists pay a 15-cent toll to travel the approximately two miles between the Williamsville barrier and Transit Road on the Amherst-Lancaster-Cheektowaga borders.