Assemblymember McMahon’s Legislation Helps Amherst Move Forward with Central Park at Westwood

Assemblymember Karen McMahon (D-Amherst/Pendleton) announced that she authored legislation that takes the first step toward making the future Amherst Central Park a reality (A.8340).

“The Amherst community has long envisioned transforming the Westwood site into a thriving park,” McMahon said. “It’s time that we start moving forward with that vision. While the park won’t be built tomorrow, my legislation gets the gears moving so our families can enjoy the recreation and open space it will offer down the road.”

Plans for the former Westwood Country Club have long been the subject of discussion in the town. After a determination that a large-scale mixed use development was inappropriate for the neighborhood, town officials and neighborhood groups have sought to transform the Westwood property into an Amherst Central Park, as a way to provide local families with new recreational opportunities and preserve green space.

The current plan, advanced by Supervisor Brian Kulpa and approved by the Town Board, would allow for limited and appropriate development by principals of Mensch Capital Partners, the owners of the Westwood property, in exchange for the Town’s acquisition of the Westwood property. The new development, adjacent to the Northtowns Center, would be anchored by a sports medicine complex.

McMahon’s legislation delineates a 93-acre parcel of Town land where a mix of public and private development will be located. With the funds generated from the sale of these private development rights, the town will acquire the Westwood property and preserve it as a park for generations to come. As part of the project, the Town intends to re-purpose the Westwood clubhouse as an arts center, which will serve as the heart of a beautiful, bucolic park.

“This is just the first step in a lengthy process, but the work will be well worth it,” McMahon said. “Amherst Central Park will be a major asset to the Amherst community, repurposing an abandoned country club into a park and providing a peaceful place for families to recreate. At the same time, the Northtown development will improve our existing recreational facilities. It’s a win-win.”

“Creating a world-class park, a sports medicine facility to rival any other in the country, and a much needed multi-sport field house is an incredible opportunity for the Town. Securing Westwood as a part of the Amherst Central Park remains the number one priority,” Town of Amherst Supervisor Brian Kulpa said. “We are excited about the future and our park.”

Nate Hartrich, chairman of the Morningside Homeowners Association and Keep Westwood Green member said, “As a resident and parent, I look forward to the next chapter of the Town’s re-investment in green space and recreation. Amherst Central Park, with world-class trails, recreation, and sports facilities, will provide an idyllic setting in the heart of the Town.”

Sara Schultz, chair of Sierra Club Niagara, and chair of the Amherst Energy Conservation Citizens Advisory Committee said, “On behalf of Sierra Club Niagara Group, we support this important legislation to develop a world class park and arts center in the Town of Amherst. It is imperative that we continue to preserve our green spaces to provide respite and recreation for our citizens as well as support for local wildlife.”