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Upgrades At Lawson Park Are Planned

BUSTI — Lawson Park will see some welcome improvements this summer after the Busti Town Board discussed a pair of projects on Monday evening.

Craig Rodgers, a professionally-sponsored disc golf player, made a presentation to the board with plans to add a 9-hole disc golf course to the park. Rodgers helped to create and design the disc golf course at Edinboro University, and explained to the board how holes could be added to the park at minimal cost. Rodgers stated that the nearest course is currently in Brocton, and that adding a course to Lawson could make future events and leagues possible. Town Supervisor Jesse Robbins and the board agreed to support the project, which would begin with $200 in startup funding from a private donor. Drew Tracy also briefed the board on plans to upgrade some of the infrastructure of the park for his Eagle Scout project, which includes replacing swings.

The board discussed a number of zoning issues on Monday, including proposals to add a produce stand to a lot at 4374 Fairmount Ave.

“I’d like to be able to expand it to more than just produce,” Tara Cotter said. “I think to begin with it is going to be produce, probably for the first year. As we grow I would like to be able to can tomatoes, freeze corn, jams and jellies. Possibly sell antique type goods in there, candles eventually.”

The board discussed the best way to properly zone the lot for use, and agreed to schedule a public hearing for a local law that would extend the highway commercial district for the site.

“We’re going to have a meeting on June 22 and set the public hearing for this for 7:15 p.m. Then on the 24th the zoning board will meet and discuss your variance,” Robbins said.

Local laws that change zoning need to be referred to the Chautauqua County Planning Department, which has 30 days to respond to requests.

Regarding lake maintenance, the board was pleased with the cooperative effort to clean out Vukote Canal using Mobitracs provided by the town of Chautauqua.

“The Vukote canal is clean. Everybody is happy,” Robbins said. “Thank you to (Highway Superintendent Melvin Peterson’s) crew for working with the Mobitrac and thank you to the town of Chautauqua for the Mobitrac.”

Robbins said he was under the impression that the Chautauqua Lake Watershed and Management Alliance would be paying for the cleanup.

The town is waiting on a weed survey by Solitude Lake Management before it can make any decisions on herbicide treatment. The survey was delayed due to cold water temperatures. Robbins expressed a desire to only spend funds that are necessary for treatment due to financial burdens imposed by COVID-19, and said that the town currently has $13,000 in funding from the Alliance and $30,000 in its own budget. The board may need to call a special meeting in order to discuss herbicide treatment after receiving the weed survey map.

The sales tax shortfall is expected to be significant in light of Covid-19.

“Compared to the last year, compared to what the county is projecting, I’m looking at this third quarter coming, $60,000 or more,” Robbins said. “All we can do is hope that it’s not that bad. Losing that much, half of which goes to the highway and half goes to (the account) for the police department.”

The board approved funds for the Highway Department to begin fixing potholes and performing road maintenance, and also approved funding for pipes and a catch basin in Bentley Park.

The board also approved the donation of town property near the Grandview Development to the Busti Swales Project, which aims to improved drainage runoff at various locations.

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