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Recreational Trail Tops Agenda at Ellicottville Town Board Meeting

By Jann Wiswall

After calling the Town of Ellicottville board meeting to order and approval of previous meeting minutes, Town Supervisor John Burrell introduced Joe Higgins, a former Ellicottville resident who now lives in Olean and served on the committee that planned and developed the 5.6-mile Allegheny River Valley Trail. Higgins gave a brief description of how the communities of Olean and Allegany worked together to establish what he now says is the “most utilized utility in the area.”

“People of all ages use the trail year round,” said Higgins.

Higgins recently offered to advise the Ellicottville committee that is studying the feasibility of developing a multi-use recreational trail that likely would be located from Ellicottville to Great Valley. He encouraged the town board to take the lead in making it happen, noting that Ellicottville’s “year round residents will use it most.” He also said that, while there are challenges in getting adjacent landowners to agree to the idea, landowners are fully covered by State Law 9-103 that protects them from any damages caused by users. Plus, “they get to use them most,” he added.

Town Deputy Supervisor and Trail Committee Chair Ken Hinman thanked Higgins for giving the committee his valuable time and advice.

“We are honored to have his expertise on our committee,” said Hinman.

The formal meeting resumed with a review of Supervisors’ reports. Mark Alianello, town engineer, updated the board on the status of the Four Flushers Project.

“The soil reports were great, the plan is doable, we just need money,” he said. If the state decides that western New York will receive funding for water improvements, $281,000 could be available for this project. If the western state is not funded, there may or may not be funding, he explained.

Burrell discussed the latest developments in the Ellicottville Historical Society’s improvements to the Jefferson Street Cemetery, including discovery of 33 unmarked graves, headstone cleaning progress, cemetery signage and possible new funding sources.

Burrell also reported on a number of town insurance policy updates. There was a slight, but anticipated, increase in cost for town insurance coverage over last year. The town also purchased a “builder’s risk policy” and materials coverage for construction of the new town garage.

Progress Made on Town Garage, Bike Path, Floodplain Study

Police Officer in Charge Don Auge started the department head reports by stating that the police department is fully prepared for Fall Fest and reiterated how well the Centurion Bike Race had gone from the law enforcement perspective.

Dave Golley, transportation department head, then reported on progress on the town garage/pole barn construction. To date, he said, the rafters have been set, steel is being delivered, they’re digging footers and setting forms, and next week they’ll be working on walls. Golley asked the board to approve a request to bid out raw material for the garage floor; the motion was approved and the department will advertise for bids.

Mark Alianello, town engineer, reported that he had received two bids for materials for the Route 242 water line extension. The low bid was provided by Lock City Supply; the board approved the low bid. Council member John Northrup pointed out that Northrup Construction is paying for the part of the extension that runs from Route 242 across the new Tim Horton restaurant property, to the Northrup building on Route 219.

“The town is benefitting from what John (Northrup) is doing,” said Burrell.

Alianello also reported on the Floodplain Study commissioned by the board. The goal of the study is to update floodplain maps originally drawn by FEMA. The board hopes that, given improvements to bridges and roadways over the past several years, it may be able to show FEMA that fewer properties lie in a floodplain and, if so, many property owners may be able to drop their flood insurance coverage. Alianello and Village Engineer Mike Smith met with the contractor on the project to review existing mapping and determine what next steps are required.

Under the heading of Old Business, Ken Hinman reported on additional updates from the Recreational Trail Committee. He said that the Great Valley Town Board was very receptive to the idea and wants to be part of it. The committee hopes to add a Great Valley Board member to the committee in the near future. Jennie Acklin, editor of this newspaper and a member of the committee, reported that she had reached Ray Miranda, owner of the new Tim Horton’s franchise, about the trail.

“He was very supportive, especially since one end of the route might be located at the new Tim Hortons,” said Acklin.

With that, Hinman called for a motion to assign the lead role in coordinating the Recreational Trail Project to the town board. The motion was passed without dissent.

The next Town of Ellicottville Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 17.

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