Bozer surveys Sturgeon Point, airs support for its preservation
By ANTHONY CARDINALE
News Staff Reporter
July 29 , 1994
The cliffs north of Sturgeon Point should be kept wild for future
generations to enjoy, not sold for private development, County Legislator
Joan K. Bozer said Thursday.
Mrs. Bozer toured the county-owned property in the Town of Evans with about
40 concerned citizens led by developer Frank Parlato Jr.
"I'd never actually walked on this land," Mrs. Bozer, D-Buffalo, said.
"It's just beautiful here. I'm basically in favor of land banking, and I'd
be interested in how this land will be preserved. I don't know where the
recent pressure is coming from to develop it."
County officials, who have appraised the lakeside land at $ 660,000,
recently rejected a $ 26,000 bid by Gail Smith Walter, a former Realtor who
owns a fitness business and buys and sells properties.
Parlato urged Mrs. Bozer to introduce a resolution in the Legislature to
change the property's designation from surplus to public recreation land.
Mrs. Bozer said she would bring this up at a meeting at 10 a.m. today in
the legislative chambers.
County Legislator Albert DeBenedetti, D-Buffalo, said he would hold the
informal meeting of interested legislators in County Hall to try to find a
compromise plan for the land. One possibility he raised involved public
access above Sturgeon Point Road and development with housing below.
Thursday's tour drew lovers of the land, many of whom had various ideas for
enhancing it but who all agreed it mustn't be used for private residential
"Public ownership is the only way to go," said Donald "Duke" Spittler,
chairman of the Conservation Board of the Town of Hamburg. "In Hamburg,
we're striving desperately for open space so that we can save it. This is a
Residential development would be incompatible with Sturgeon Point Marina,
just south of the county land, said Dick Smith, Hamburg highway
superintendent and past president of the South Towns Walleye Association.
"You've got to separate residential from marina land," he said. "If you
don't, those residents will complain to the police every time a boater revs
up his engine outside the marina."
"Residential development just doesn't pay for itself in property taxes,"
said Robert M. Catalano, chairman of the Sturgeon Point Preservation
Committee. "For every new dollar in taxes, it drains from $ 1.15 to $ 1.25
Catalano added that the marina has a long waiting list, and if it were
expanded on the beach below the county property, the new boat slips would
be filled immediately and another waiting list would be created.
Lucrative fishing tournaments could be drawn to Evans if the marina were
expanded in that direction, said Don Cook, a member of the marina advisory
board. The local economic impact could be hundreds of thousands of dollars,
Artist Mike Kelly showed the group some fossils he found on the shore and
explained the story they told.
"This is a page from Lake Erie's history," he said. "Take a nature walk and
let Lake Erie speak to you and let the cliffs speak to you. If you want to
see 'progress,' it's written in these rocks."
"This is not a concrete jungle," said a music production coordinator from
the East Side, who identified himself only as Omego-1. "It's peaceful. It's
non-violent. It's something I'd want to take my family to -- something we
don't have a chance to do in my neighborhood."
Saving the land for wildlife or using it for marina expansion are two
extremes, said Mike Niman, a teacher of American studies. He suggested a
hiking and cross-country ski trail along the cliffs.
"I had to drive 45 minutes just to stand here -- legal -- without being on
somebody's property," said Daniel Pusateri of Clark Street. "How long would
I have to drive to see the lake like this, if this land is used for
"I live down the street from here and go away to college," said Julie
Matson, 19. "Every time I come home, there's less open land."
Contact Frank Parlato Jr.