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Buffalo Common Council to review spending $331M in American Rescue Plan funds

Rendering of the new 75,000-square-foot sports complex proposed for Shoshone Park.
Sen. Chris Jacobs
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Rendering of the new 75,000-square-foot sports complex proposed for Shoshone Park.

Four years ago, Buffalo Common Councilmembers Joel Feroleto and Rasheed Wyatt decided to forego repairs to an outdoor swimming pool in Shoshone Park and instead use the money to start a quest for an indoor gym on the site in the park. They get a better idea how that's going Tuesday, when Mayor Byron Brown's administration comes to the Council with its plan to spend $331million in federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan.

As part of what the administration is calling the Buffalo Transformation Fund, the city wants to hire a consultant to design the new structure and start building it next year.

While the park is in Wyatt's district, many of those who use Shoshone are from Feroleto's district and the two have spent a lot of effort on improving the park, which gets a lot of use,

"We work very well together and he was very influential in getting some of the initial dollars that we needed," Wyatt said. "So it's a celebration for both of us in our districts, because this is something that has really been yearned for, for a lot of years, and hopefully within a year or two we will see it come to fruition."

Feroleto said it will keep city kids in their city.

'We're seeing kids from the city traveling out to the suburbs to practice during fall, during the winter, during the spring. And this indoor facility, people will be able to play soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse," Feroleto said.

Feroleto said the new building should cost north of $8 million, with construction starting next year. This gym money is inside $20 million for improvements to eight city parks.

The Buffalo Transformation Fund includes millions of dollars for projects, including water and sewer debt forgiveness, garbage user-fee assistance, job training and replacing old lead water lines, which has already started along with building a smart sewer and water infrastructure.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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