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BBQ Pavilion Proposed

The Lansing Town Board considered a permanent barbecue pavilion to be located at the town ball fields parking lot at a working meeting last week.  Chicken barbecues have been a staple of Lansing at the site, raising money for a plethora of local causes, including school athletic teams, scouts, community organizations and local political committees.  Lansing Supervisor Ed LaVigne said the idea isn't new, but said it has been raised again because barbecuing at the site has made a comeback.

"(Town Recreation Supervisor) Patrick Tyrrell and I did an analysis of the number of chicken barbecues in the last five years," he said.  "It had steadily declined.  There were only nine last year.  But they seem to be making a comeback."

LaVigne recommended the money for a pavilion be raised privately, possibly by having chicken barbecues.  He also suggested naming the pavilion after long-time Lansing resident Bob Baker. 

"Wouldn't it be nice to name it after Bob Baker?" LaVigne suggested.  "I think that would be appropriate."

Baker had a long and successful career at Cornell University.  In 1984 he was named 'The Edison of the chicken industry' by the New York Times for developing 50 poultry and egg products, and developed and and made famous Cornell Sauce, which is often used for chicken barbecues where the pavilion is potentially to be located.  He was a member of the Lansing United Methodist Church, a founding member of the Lansing Lions Club and the Lansing Housing Authority, and was active in initiating the Lansing Community Council. He was a member of Ithaca Rotary and the North Lansing Fireman's Auxiliary.  After his retirement he opened Baker's Acres along with his wife Jackie and other family members.  Baker died in 2006.

LaVigne said  that after talking to Tyrrell and others, he concluded the parking lot where barbecues are currently located works better because the traffic flow is established and a parking lot is already there.

"We have water here," said Councilman Doug Dake.  "We have (bathroom) facilities.  It makes more sense here."

Councilwoman Katrina Binkewicz noted that parking is already established there, and Councilwoman Andra Benson added that a covered pavilion would make the barbecues more successful.

"If the weather is bad the barbecue you planned is a bust," she observed.

LaVigne said Dave Hatfield, who barbecues the chicken for most of the organizations, has submitted a design, and other designs have also been suggested in the past.  He said a final location is not set, but he has been gathering ideas.  Baker's son Dale suggested building a pavilion across the street on town-owned land there. Others favor keeping it near the existing location.

"According to (Codes Officer) Lynn Day there are certain places the pavilion could be located," LaVigne said.  "Under the utility wires is not one of them.  Also, do you move the fence where the ball fields are and take out that corner?  The latest proposal is to leave the fence alone, but build the pavilion right along the fence facing the road.  The fence is not touched at all, and where the barbecue is located now can be made into a parking lot, because you are allowed to park under the wires.  If our Highway Department can put that on their schedule for next year, maybe we could pave the area where the barbecue pit is normally located now."

LaVigne asked for board input as well.

"I'm simply brain-storming with you on where we can put it," he said.  "If you have any suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me or Patrick.  It does not have to be on that corner.  It can be moved farther down.  It can be wherever you think the best location is."

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