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Legislators rescind purchase agreement for Lewis Lanes

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LOWVILLE — Applause came from the standing-room-only crowd as Lewis County legislators voted Tuesday night to rescind a resolution passed last week to purchase Lewis Lanes for $1 million.

Before the vote, the board heard 45 minutes of public comment both in favor of and against the purchase, with both sides questioning the haste of the decision. The county planned the purchase to convert the building to office space for county agencies.

Daniel M. Myers said a joint project with Double Play Sports Center could provide needed office space, house the Chamber of Commerce and Industrial Development Agency and save all involved entities money.

“We’re not asking for any taxpayers’ money,” Mr. Myers said.

As the executive director of the nonprofit, he works for free, but he said the program employs 25 part-time staff members.

His research, which he delivered in 250 documents, showed similar projects across the nation have been very successful “in communities smaller than Lewis County,” he said.

Duane C. DeLair, District 8 legislative candidate, said he believes the county will be able to exit the contract legally.

One of the contingencies to be met is an appraisal of the building showing the value is equal to or higher than the purchase price. As an appraiser himself, Mr. DeLair said, “There’s no way that’s worth $1 million.”

He implored the board to wait on its decision.

“In a few hours, we’re going to have a brand new board, “ he said. “You only have two months left. Don’t make a big mess.”

An application for an injunction to prevent the board from canceling the contract between the county and the owners of the bowling alley was approved Monday in state Supreme Court, with a hearing date set for Nov. 14. Also requested, but denied, was a temporary restraining order to prevent any action before the court hears the petition.

Legislator William J. Burke, R-West Lowville, questioned whether legal ramifications should be discussed before voting on the resolution, brought forward by Legislator Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, but no legislators chose to discuss them.

The six votes needed to approve the resolution were cast by Mr. Stanford; John O. Boyd, D-New Bremen’; Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham; Patrick F. Wallace, R-Lowville; Jerry H. King, R-West Leyden; and Richard C. Lucas, R-Barnes Corners. The resolution passed because Mr. Stanford and Mr. Boyd changed their votes from the first vote on the proposal.

Craig P. Brennan, R-Copenhagen, was excused from the meeting, while William J. Burke, R-West Lowville, Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville, and Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan, were opposed to rescinding the purchase agreement.

Following the meeting, County Attorney Richard J. Graham had no comment.

To watch a video of the final vote, visit http://wdt.me/lewis-lanes-vote or scan the QR code at right (or above) on your mobile device

Lewis County overturns bowling alley purchase
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