NILES Private business in park is rejected

City council established a countywide transit fund.
NILES -- Council members plan to consider a resolution prohibiting public parks from being used for private business.
At a recent finance committee meeting, George Kuriatnyk of Niles pitched an idea for an indoor sports complex in Waddell Park. He wanted to lease the property from the city and build the facility.
At council's regular meeting Wednesday, law director J. Terrence Dull said such a proposal isn't allowed in the deed that designated the property as a park.
"It would definitely be a problem," Dull said. "Based on the language in the deed, we couldn't allow this type of use."
Some council members want to take it a step further.
"I have grave reservations about the city's utilizing public parks for private endeavors," said Robert L. Marino Jr., D-at large.
"I think we need such a facility but not on park property," Stephen G. Papalas, D-at large, agreed.
The concerns: Council members worried about the possibility of the city's being stuck with a building on park property if the business folded and of giving an advantage to one business owner over another.
"I just think that's dangerous," Marino said.
Papalas made a motion that park property not be used for private industry, private development or private business. Dull will prepare a resolution for a future council meeting.
Kuriatnyk was disappointed, saying that a few people ruined what would have been a positive feature for the whole city.
"People are always saying that Howland has this and Warren has that," he said. "Niles had the chance to have something and passed it up because of a few people on council. I'm still going to build it, but it won't be in Niles, and Niles is going to miss out again."
He declined to say where he plans to build the facility.
Transit fund: Council, meanwhile, approved an ordinance creating a Niles-Trumbull Transit Service Fund. Because Niles is the lead agency for a countywide transportation program, all of the funds involved in its operation will be processed through the city.
Trumbull commissioners have contributed about $150,000 toward the program, and with Niles, Cortland, Howland, Liberty, McDonald, Vienna and Weathersfield each are kicking in $1 per resident.
A policy board resolution by the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments recommends that the agency designate $248,500 in federal money for a one-year pilot transit plan program.
Under the plan, people can call and schedule a pickup and drop-off time. Fares are determined on origin and destination and whether the rider lives in a participating community.
A public hearing on the program is set for 5 p.m. Feb. 13 in council chambers, after which residents have 30 days to submit written comments.
The comments will be referred to the Federal Transit Administration, which must approve the program before it receives federal dollars.

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