YMCA PLANS MAJOR EXPANSION

James Neiss/staff photographerThe new Lockport YMCA on Snyder Drive (building with white roof at left) in the Town of Lockport is planning a major outdoor expansion project, beginning this year, on vacant land between the building and Locust Street at the top of the photo. This is a view looking east. The open land extends all the way to Locust Street, near Shimer Drive. 

An outdoor aquatics center, basketball courts, climbing tower, amphitheater and new administration building are among expansion plans the Lockport YMCA has announced for its 30.4-acre Snyder Road property.

Last month, YMCA executive director Steve Henshaw and Michael Metzger of Metzger Engineering, presented the Lockport Town Planning Board with details of an expansion project east of the YMCA's new building at 5833 Snyder Drive, Town of Lockport.

Metzger told the board that Phase One would include, “an alpine tower, ropes course, archery, basketball and pickleball courts and sports fields.” Future phases would include construction of an amphitheater, multiple shelters, a multi-use pavilion with lunch area and restrooms, an aquatic center with a pool and splash pad and an administration building.

Henshaw said on Monday that current economic conditions, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, may delay the start of the expansion project by as any as a few years, but fundraising efforts are underway and the Y hopes to begin Phase One as soon as they are able to. The new YMCA opened in October of 2018.

Town Supervisor Mark Crocker said he's excited about the YMCA's plans as well as its overall success at its new location in the town.

“This expansion plan is something that's been in the works for a number of years now. We were briefed on the possible expansion about two years ago and it looks as though it's a great project,” Crocker said.

“They asked the Town Board for some of our input and we gave them input that would make the project better and it appears they're pressing ahead. Any addition to the YMCA in the back area would be very positive.”

According to the town, the Y's town property includes 923.47 feet of frontage on Snyder Drive. Prior to building its new facility in the town, the Y had been a staple of the City of Lockport, at 25 East Ave., downtown, for almost a century.

City Assessor Tracy Farrell said the former Lockport YMCA building downtown was sold recently for $25,000 to ISGM Holdings, LLC; which also owns the historic Bewley Building on Market Street. Farrell said besides the need to remove asbestos, ISGM also needs to make the structure more handicap accessible before it can reopen.

“I know they were having architects come in and look at it, but as far as future plans, there's nothing concrete,” she said.

Henshaw told the Town Board that the Y will fundraise to pay for its expansion and improvements projects. Maintenance of the property would be handled by the YMCA and security cameras will be installed for security, he added.

Metzger also said that the seating for the proposed amphitheater would be on a hill and act as a natural barrier, adding that the noise produced from activities on the stage would be minimal.

Up next, town attorneys said a SEQRA review needs to be performed. Once received, Y and other representatives will return to the Planning Board this month to declare the Town Planning Board's intent to serve as Lead Agency for SEQRA review.

Follow reporter John D’Onofrio on Twitter with “Good Morning, Lockport, N.Y.” weekday mornings at @LockportJournal.

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