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Panama Village Board To Move Forward With Green Space Plans

From left, Frewsburg School Board President Larry Lodestro, and Superintendent Shelly O’Boyle discuss electric school buses. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsk

PANAMA — The Panama Village Board is moving forward with plans to create a potential green space or park on South Street.

The property the board is looking at is on the current tax auction, and the municipality it is in has the option of being the first ones to buy it for the amount that the county is paying in taxes on it. Village Mayor William Schneider asked the board at the latest meeting if it was their wish to move forward with buying the property for the village through the county.

“Now, my thoughts are if we do get that, we will basically clean up the property and make a small green space or park out of it possibly, right there by the creek side,” Schneider said. “That particular parcel seems to be the biggest issue when we do have flooding. So that would be another stopgap measure.”

One drawback would be that the property would not be on the tax roll. The board has the option to get the property early on if they moved on it before it moved much farther into the selling process. Discussion focused on what would happen if the village did not get possible grant money, and if they would be able to sell the property again if they decided they no longer wanted it. Other concerns included if it would be centralized in the village enough, and the board also discussed options for the space.

“If you want a greenspace, that probably is the best property to have to do a greenspace because you are not going to lose a big amount of money every year in tax revenues,” Schneider said. “It has some appeal because it is right by the creek.”

The Panama Village Board discussed the possibility of buying a property to install a greenspace on South Street. P-J photos by Sara Holthouse

Schneider added that the village has had properties in the past that they received from the county and then put back up for development.

Potential items for the greenspace might include a pavilion, native trees, bushes and benches. The village would be required to mow it and there would be a curfew.

The village has also had one greenspace in the past that Schneider referred to as “a failure.” It is currently the back of a parking lot. The property for a greenspace could also be used for community gardens and service projects for the school.

The board decided to move forward with buying the property and to see what the process will be.

In other news:

— County Legislator Travis Heiser visited the village board, continuing with his goal to visit all municipalities in his jurisdiction throughout the next few months. Heiser was also there to see if there might be anything the village needed from him to be recognized by the legislature. The village asked him about potential grant funding for the greenspace

— There will be a meeting Feb 28 for local mayors and town supervisors with County Executive PJ Wendel in regard to being prepared for an expected influx of people coming into the area for the April 8 eclipse.

— The board has started to look over the budget, with plans to talk more at the next meeting.

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