By Jann Wiswall
It was a fabulous summer in Ellicottville, no matter how you look at it. The weather was spectacular, the farms and gardens were bountiful, and volunteers pulled out all the stops to dress the village in gorgeous summer blooms. Residents and visitors alike found plenty to keep them busy and entertained throughout the region — from biking, hiking, fishing and canoeing to shopping, dining and enjoying the always great entertainment at area watering holes.
From an economic standpoint, things were looking pretty great, too. Hotel bookings and other overnight stays for third quarter (July-September) 2013 were 11 percent higher than in 2012, according to Brian McFadden, executive director of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce.
“This represents an all time record for this time period, and things are only going to get better,” he said.
This trend may be attributed to indications that the national economy is beginning to recover from the recession, but it also may be attributed to the collective efforts of area business leaders, area governments and others who are determined to make Ellicottville a four-season destination.
Of course, Holiday Valley gets much of the credit for this growth with its determined expansion of its fair-weather activities — from golf and the three-pool complex to Sky High Adventure Park featuring the Aerial Park, the Mountain Coaster and its newest addition, the Climbing Forest. Sky High had record crowds this summer, and bookings for meetings, conferences and weddings continue to increase as the resort adds to its already impressive list of amenities.
But Ellicottville’s many festivals and events are drawing bigger crowds into the area, as well.
“The third biggest reason people travel on weekends is to attend festivals,” McFadden said.
From July through September, Ellicottville organizations and businesses host festivals and weekend-long events that draw literally thousands of people from miles around.
Beginning with the Independence Day weekend’s Summer Music Festival and the Ellicottville Rodeo, and throughout the month with the New York State HOG® Rally (new in 2013), the Americana Folk Art Fair and the always popular Jazz & Blues Weekend, there is something for everyone with all kinds of interests.
At the end of the month and into August, the Cattaraugus County Fair draws thousands more into the region, followed by the Taste of Ellicottville and Rally in the Valley. Then, of course, September brings us Rock N’ Roll Weekend and the opening of Pumpkinville.
With all this activity, it is no wonder that new businesses continue to locate in Ellicottville. The new Tim Hortons Ellicottville location opens Friday, Oct. 11 in time for Fall Festival revelers. The Café and Bakery at the intersection of Routes 219 and 242 will offer its delicious coffees, baked goods, sandwiches and salads and will be open 24 hours.
In the village, EVL Cheese Company — “Sliced from the Cuba Cheese Shoppe” — has opened in the shopping center next to the Kwik Fill/Red Apple store. The shop carries more than 225 types of cheeses, salt rising bread, gourmet delicacies, kitchenware, local art and custom-order cheese trays. Hours are 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily.
For the fashion conscious, Flurry has opened at 12 Monroe St. The new boutique carries unique, casual-contemporary clothing and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else, and new items are introduced every Saturday throughout the year. Hours are Thursday–Monday from 10:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
In addition to new retail shops, Ellicottville is seeing a housing boom. Infrastructure construction for the first phase of WestMont Ridge, the new development at HoliMont, is nearing completion; closings on the sale of the first 20 single-family lots are on track for the end of this year.
Glen Burn Trail, a new 38-unit townhouse development located off East Washington Street in the village next to the Ilex Inn, is under construction, with infrastructure and an initial block of townhomes nearing completion. And the old American Locker site at 12-16 Martha St. — right behind the expanded Ellicottville Brewing Company — has been purchased. The new owners plan to construct two apartment buildings for seasonal rentals on the centrally located property.
And there’s more good news for residents and visitors alike:
Recreational Trail Support Grows: Momentum continues to build for the proposed Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail — a traffic-free, trail connecting businesses, the local school district, resorts and other points of interest. Development of the master plan for the project is well under way and a grant application has been submitted to the Transportation Enhancement Program of the State Department of Transportation. Additional fundraising continues. A “conceptual” map of an approximate route for the trail will be available for viewing at the Trail Committee’s booth near the Village Gazebo during this weekend’s Fall Festival.
Town and Village Courts Have Moved: Ellicottville’s Town and Village courts have moved from the Village/Town Hall to the new Ellicottville Town Center building at Fillmore Dr. and Parkside Rd. near the Village Park. The building, formerly owned and still partially occupied by the Cooperative Extension Service, was taken over and renovated by the Town of Ellicottville, primarily in order to provide handicap accessibility for the courts. In addition, the Town Center features a large, renovated auditorium space that is available for private parties, weddings, meetings and events — with direct access to the gorgeous, 8-acre Nannen Arboretum.
Ellicottville Central Schools Renovations: Residents of the Ellicottville Central School District voted last March to fund a capital renovation project of the school building. Renovations will address maintenance and health and safety/security issues, including partial roof replacement, electrical, masonry, and ventilation improvements, accessibility concerns, security improvements and more. In addition, plans call for reconfiguring and adding a 100-foot-by-50-foot addition to the back of the existing gymnasium in order to create a unique, multi-purpose athletic and performance space. The final architectural and project plans are due to the State Education Department on Nov. 1. Assuming all goes smoothly, construction will begin in summer 2014.