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Proposal to use funds once tabbed for Vibrant Batavia for another community development project doesn't get council backing

By Howard B. Owens

A proposal by City Councilman Adam Tabelski to spend $92,000 in funds set aside for community development on community development failed to win much support from the rest of the City Council at its Monday conference meeting.

Tabelski proposed taking the money originally intended for Vibrant Batavia, which the council scuttled two weeks ago, on a recent joint city, county, school district and Genesee County Economic Development Center initiative called Pathway to Prosperity. 

BP2, as it's known, will take a portion of fees paid in PILOT programs (payment in lieu of taxes) by property owners with economic development projects and use it to help mitigate environment issues at brownfield properties in the city. The chicken-and-egg problem is BP2 has no money until the first new PILOT is approved, and the city's brownfield area properties need to clean up as projects come on line. 

Tabelski thought $92,000 might best be used to jump start some brownfield redevelopment.

Council members had other thoughts about what to do with the money, from building a spray park on the Southside, to payment toward the new police station, to just letting it sit in the general fund.

"We need to start thinking of the kids on the south side of the city," said Councilwoman Rosemary Christian. "We need something for the child. We're always thinking of things other than the children in our community. They're our future leaders who will up her someday making these decisions."

Tabelski countered that today's children will need tomorrow's jobs.

Some council members said they thought Tabelski's timing is off, that it was only a meeting ago that Vibrant Batavia was killed off and perhaps there should be more time taken before deciding what to do with the money.

"As for timing, the reason to bring this up now is that as time goes by, the default action is that nothing happens," Tabelski said. "I'm trying to address this in a timely manner."

Molino said a spray park on the Southside would likely cost more than $92,000, with planning, engineering, possible land acquisition and the purchase of equipment. Briggs and Christian promised to push for a spray park in the 2017 budget.

Brian Graz

How about adding the $92,000 to the money earmarked for street repair? That is an ongoing and growing problem. Why waste the money on Brownfield when there is Federal Grants available to do this? I don't understand why the carpetbagger Tabelski has become the leading talking-head for how to spend taxpayer's money in a community that he is a new resident in. A Spray Park would be nice, but I don't believe that providing entertainment at taxpayer's expense is the responsibility of government, unless it generates offsetting revenue.

May 26, 2016, 1:27pm Permalink
John Roach

While I agree with Brian that the money should not be used for commercial/business development when Pathway to Prosperity was supposed to be self funding. But Mr. Tabelski is running for election this November, and tryin gto keep his name in the public. Since he has only lived here about 18 months, most people have no idea who he is. And while some people will say it has nothing to do with us, the money Mr. Tabelski recommends be used would go to GCEDC, where his wife works. This is not a legal conflict of interest, but he should have mentioned that to fully transparent in my opinion.
I disagree with Brian on the Spray Park. That is the type of thing I think government should do, as it would be in an existing City park (Kibby). Fixing pot holes is also a great idea to use the money on.

May 26, 2016, 2:23pm Permalink
John Roach

Beth, that's where it was proposed to go about 11 years ago. It is the perfect location and it's about time they had something on that side of the City

May 26, 2016, 3:27pm Permalink
Brian Graz

Spend how many tens of thousands of $$$ to build a Spray Park that gets used 3 months out of the year... ???? Wouldn't it be great if the City built a Chuck E. Cheese, with a miniature golf course, batting cages, and game arcade... and everything was free for kids up to 15yrs? Maybe Bernie can win yet!

May 27, 2016, 1:07am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Is there room at Kibbe Park? The majority of the park space is low ground and highly susceptible to flooding. The higher ground is close to homes.

Ferrell Park, putting it kitty corner to Austin Park, seems to make more sense.

May 27, 2016, 8:33am Permalink

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