TOWN SEEKS TO LEASE PART OF PARK FOR TOWER Friday April 12 12:00am The Buffalo News West Seneca is looking to lease a small chunk of Firemen's Park next to West Seneca Developmental Center to a telecommunications company for a new cellular tower. The big lure for the town is money. The town stands to gain $ 12,000 a year in lease payments from Cricket Communications, which is moving into several local communities as it expands a wireless telecommunications network in upstate New York. But because the targeted 100-by-100-foot parcel is parkland, it requires State Legislature approval to separate it from the rest of the park and be used for nonpark purposes. Town officials are working on the issue with State Sen. William T. Stachowski, D-Buffalo. To move it along, the Town Board this week authorized a home-rule request seeking state approval for that portion of recreational land to be used for a cellular tower base station. It is still unclear how tall the tower would be and what kind of lighting would be required. Town Attorney Timothy J. Greenan said the height has not yet been determined, but Supervisor Paul T. Clark said it would not be a "massive height." The tower is proposed for the northeast corner of Firemen's Park and would back up to the far western edge of the West Seneca Developmental Center complex. The town has gone through a series of cellular tower issues and has determined a "search ring" in which towers should ideally be located and have the least impact on residential areas, Greenan said Thursday. Clark said the tower would be near an old boiler plant and "should be out of the way by the smokestacks." He praised the proposal because of the lease revenue that the town would gain. However, the tower would be close to the developmental center site, a portion of which the state is interested in selling. Two years ago, the state first tried to sell nearly 175 acres of land surrounding the complex, which it considered excess property, because of the significant population decline at the center in recent years as fewer developmentally disabled people are institutionalized and more go into group-home settings. But the redevelopment effort has been slow to take off, and the first phase has reverted to the state. Clark said he does not necessarily view the tower's proposed location as a negative in terms of future redevelopment of the state property. "We'll probably always be stuck with a degree of commercial" use of the land, Clark said. Plus, the proposed tower is closer to the industrial component of the state complex, he said. The way the state is proceeding, it could be 20 more years before anything is done with the land, he said. Over the next 20 years, Clark said, the town stands to take in "over a quarter of a million dollars" in lease revenues from the cellular tower. "We think the opportunity for revenue should be taken advantage of right now," he said. The town and Cricket have not yet signed off on the proposal. Once governmental approvals are in place, Greenan said, the tower could be up later this year. Cricket officials could not be reached to comment.