Nonprofits discuss Hamburg concession stand

Item Photo by Matt Loewen If Hamburg zoning officer John Leonforte's proposal is adopted, the concession stand in Hamburg Park might be open much more during the year.

A number of nonprofits met with Hamburg Borough zoning officer John Leonforte on Aug. 7 to discuss a possible new purpose for the Hamburg Park concession stand.

Under the proposal as put forth by Leonforte, during periods when the pool isn't open, various local nonprofits could sign up to man the Hamburg Park concession stand individually; as a result, a certain percentage of profits would go toward the participating nonprofit, with another percentage going to the borough.

'If you're using the nonprofits,' Leonforte said a few days later, 'then any profits generated by the stand would be put back into the purposes that those nonprofits have-and those funds could then be utilized for the community.'

Leonforte pointed out a potential '150 days or so' during the year when the stand could be open for park visitation-not counting days when the weather was too cold for visitors.

The new use for the stand would also help, Leonforte said, in offsetting park costs for the borough.

Leonforte gave two other options for the stand, going forward: Keeping things as they are, or leasing the stand to a for-profit company.

The new proposal, Leonforte acknowledged, would be 'the most difficult course for the nonprofits' due to its complexity.

Leonforte also noted that a very large group of nonprofits would be needed to fill up the amount of free time the stand would be open without the pool.

'We've probably got about a tenth of the needed in this room right now,' Leonforte said of the four that had attended.

Leonforte maintained, however, that for the nonprofits and the Hamburg community, the proposal would be 'the most rewarding.'

Questions were raised at the meeting that mostly concerned the seen and unseen complexities of the plan, such as concession training for inexperienced servers, getting enough nonprofits to join and more.

'I love the concept,' said Hamburg Rotary/school district representative Ken Buck; 'I am concerned that there'd be blocks where no would sign up.'

'Or that someone would take up too many blocks,' said a representative of the Hamburg Soccer Association.

Questions were also raised about worse-case scenarios-such as whether, for some reason, a nonprofit failed to show up for their designated time.

'From a business perspective,' Buck said, 'privatizing the stand makes the most sense if a nonprofit takes part occasionally, and with 30 percent of profits going to the borough.'

Those participating in the meeting, however, agreed in general that the idea was attractive-but that further study and meetings would most definitely be needed.

'You would be surprised,' said Mike Adams of the Hamburg Grange and Lion's Club, 'how much you can get from your situation without making major changes.'

The group agreed to suspend further discussion until a new park recreation manager, who would hypothetically oversee the proposal as put into action, gave his opinion.

Groups represented at the meeting were: The Hamburg Grange, the Hamburg Lion's Club, the Hamburg Jaycees and the Hamburg Soccer Association.

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