The vacant lot appears to have become a major campaign issue in the West New York mayoral race as City Commissioner Cosmo Cirillo and former U.S. Rep. Albio Sayres released competing plans for what to build at the intersection of 64th Street and Broadway.

In a press release yesterday, Cirillo and his team announced that they will be working to turn the site into a community recreation centersomething they say hasn’t happened in Western New York in decades.

“The new recreation center will bring new life to the city of Western New York,” Cirillo said. “We will never see a property like this again in the city and this is a great opportunity to build a beautiful multi-level structure with plenty of parking for the public.”

But Sires who aspire make a return as mayor after previously serving from 1995 to 2006, instead argued that the site, owned by the New Jersey School Development Authority, should be used to build a new school. The plan for the new school is already approved and has state funding behind it, Sires said, and the recreation center could be located elsewhere.

“We can have a new DC and a new school in the city,” he said. “Why should we even consider turning away millions of public dollars that are already allocated to Western New York and may never again be available for a new school? It doesn’t sound very promising.”

The two mayoral candidates and their associated township committee members will face off in a nonpartisan election May 9 to replace Mayor Gabe Rodriguez, who is running instead for the State Assembly this year. Everyone ten candidates will compete on a single ballot, with the five winners choosing the mayor after the election.

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