Vacco, ex-police captain to debate legalizing drugs
October 07, 1993, Thursday, City Edition
A Gorski administration official is urging the Erie County Legislature to deed
half of the county's Sturgeon Point land -- 25 acres with a spectacular
lakefront view -- to the Town of Evans for $1.
Richard M. Tobe, commissioner of environment and planning, said a condition of the transaction is that the town, which is interested in expanding its marina, create a park accessible to all residents of the county on an equal basis.
"We're not giving it away," Tobe said. "We're making it available for public
use. It must be developed as a park and used as a park. If not, it will revert to
The lakefront site is a wild bluff that looks down on a 1,000-foot stretch of pebbly Lake Erie beach adjoining the crowded marina. Former Legislator
Joan K. Bozer, D-Buffalo, was among the environmentalists who went into
action four years ago when a former county official insisted that the land go on the auction block for real estate development.
The county withdrew the land when, despite an appraisal of $660,000, it
brought a high bid of just $26,000.
Tobe said he began discussions last fall with Evans Supervisor Robert R.
Catalino II and County Legislator Jeanne Z. Chase, R-Evans/Hamburg.
Ms. Chase, a real estate agent for Hunt Real Estate Corp., said her interest in
Sturgeon Point is to keep the lakefront park for the public.
"Obviously, this is a costly project," she said. "The plan is to leave the beach.
Part of the bluff is parking. They want to do a sort of a grove area for people
to sit and eat."
Ms. Chase added, "Different times of year you can see different things. Last
year, when ice was moving off the lake, there was a mink swimming along. He was just beautiful. There was also a beaver."
Tobe said the town may rezone the county's remaining 25 acres without lakefront south of Sturgeon Point Road. And, the site could again be put up
for auction in the future.
"All we're trying to do now is preserve the part that has waterfront for the
public in the future," he said. "The Finance Department will be involved in the
decision to sell or not to sell and what the minimum purchase price will be."
Frank R. Parlato Jr., a real estate developer who organized a group of 40 to
oppose the sale in 1994, sees the proposal for extending the Evans Marina as
a positive step.
"There's a way it could be developed that would give people an opportunity to
walk that whole waterfront area," Parlato said. "The pivotal thing is to preserve some of the trees along the bluff and to have a natural walkway along
Parlato said the remaining county land may bring a much better price because
of its proximity to the planned new park.
He said he recently sold two-acre lots in an area that he developed, keeping a
118-acre nature preserve, for $30,000 to $55,000 a lot. The development,
Tri-Park Acres, is in Hamburg near the Evans line. If the Legislature goes
along with Tobe's request, he or his successor would have direct control over
the future development of the Sturgeon Point waterfront land.
"The Town of Evans is given some time to develop a plan and present it to us," Tobe said. "It is subject to Department of Planning approval. It is my
Contact Frank Parlato Jr.