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Feelings Mixed on City-County Parks Merger

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – City and suburban residents weighed in Monday night on a proposed city-county parks merger. About 175 residents turned out for a public hearing at the Buffalo Museum of Science. It was sponsored by the Erie County Legislature.

The plan would have the county take over 180 city parks and playgrounds. Some city residents spoke out against the plan fearing it will hurt the future of the city parks.

County lawmakers will meet in special session Wednesday to vote on the proposed parks merger. Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello is waiting to include the deal in his proposed city budget that must be returned to the control board Wednesday afternoon.

"If they do not approve this recommendation then the city will have another significant gap. We don't have the personnel in our budget to take care of the parks," Masiello said. "It would be catastrophic."

Monday night, the Cheektowaga Town Board approved a resolution against the county takeover of city parks. Cheektowaga lawmakers say their taxpayers are upset about the plan and feel they should not have to help pay for the merger.