Future of convention center study in question

There’s a new delay in the effort to get a new convention center built in Buffalo.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – There’s a new delay in the effort to get a new convention center built in Buffalo. Some Erie County lawmakers say they want more information before they commit more money to study a potential project.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is requesting up to an additional $65,000 for the study. It would have to be approved by the legislature, which had originally approved only $149,900.

The study is being conducted by HVS Consulting.

But before approving the additional funding, some county legislators are asking for more information. At an economic development committee meeting Thursday morning, they didn’t get the answers they were looking for.

Representatives from the county executive’s administration were on hand, but Legislator Joseph Lorigo, a Conservative, wasn’t satisfied, saying they refused to answer questions.

“We’ve been at this same exact speed bump for several weeks now,” explained Lorigo, whose district includes West Seneca, Elma, Marilla, Wales, Aurora, Colden, and Holland, “when the same questions that we’ve been asking or a month are continually ignored and they sit here and refuse to answer questions. Today was despicable. They sat here with their mouths open without anything coming out, and their faces completely blank.”

Specifically, Lorigo and other lawmakers are asking which sites are under consideration. Officials say there are four, including the currently location on Franklin Street in Buffalo. But administration officials won’t share the other three options.

Legislator Patrick Burke, a Democrat who represents parts of Buffalo and Cheektowaga, says the study needs to move forward.

“By delaying this relatively small amount of money, we compromise the integrity of this project,” said Burke. “It’s not a wise thing to do, considering the enormous amount of planning errors this community has had for generations.”

The county executive’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Burke said he will continue lobbying lawmakers to come around.


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