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1st Quarter 2015: Resorts Delivered Fun


Roadwork to Begin in April

By Jann Wiswall

It has been a very good first three months of 2015 in Ellicottville. In a town where the major industry is weather dependent, visitors, residents and business owners alike caught a welcome break as Mother Nature delivered excellent snow and snowmaking conditions to the region.

At Holiday Valley, Marketing Director Jane Eshbaugh said that, while results aren’t all in yet, “Overall the season was a good one, with consistent snow and consistently good conditions from January on. All of our events went well and the fundraisers were successful.”

Eshbaugh reported that skier visits will be right around the average, as was snowfall. However, she said, “The season was far from ‘average!’ I saw tons of families out having fun, lots of young people enjoying their nights at the Valley and the early morning weekday seniors were out in full force.”

These are all signs that, true to their word, IT’S JUST FUN!

HoliMont’s season may have started a bit late, said Marketing Director Dash Hegeman, “but when we were able to get rolling, it seemed like we had two straight months where the conditions literally got better every single weekend.

“We’d check the long-term forecast and see freezing temps and snow flurries. Knowing that we didn’t have to worry about things warming up too much was nice in terms of preparing the slopes on a daily basis.

“People noticed it too. Whether it was a HoliMont Member, their guest or a weekday visitor, we got a ton of comments about how nice the conditions were. By-and-large I think that the people who came out to ski and ride this season had fun doing so, and that’s what we strive to provide.”

New & Improved Dining Options

Ellicottville’s expanding restaurant community also had a very good season.

Cadillac Jack’s closed its former seasonal location and moved to a new year-round location on Monroe Street, which opened in February. Its menu features the freshest ingredients, a terrific wine, beer and cocktail menu and vintage Ellicottville décor, and it’s getting five-star reviews.

The new Slopeside Bar & BBQ restaurant opened for the ski season in December at Route 219 and Holiday Valley Road, just 128 steps from the Sunset chairlift. The restaurant was booming until it closed for the season just this week.

Two more new restaurants are in the works now, too. The owners of the Gin Mill have purchased 28 Washington St., the building at the corner of Washington and Monroe streets in the center of the village. This building has a long and illustrious history in Ellicottville that dates back to the late 1800s. Ed and Maribeth Rick plan to restore the building to its original splendor.

For the time being, DJs Diner, which occupies the corner storefront, will remain in place well into the summer. In the fall, the Ricks expect to open a new restaurant in that space where breakfast, lunch, dinner and an extensive carry-out menu will be offered. The gift shop, A Taste of Ellicottville, which is next door, will stay in its Washington Street location until its lease is up. Upstairs, existing apartments are being renovated for rentals.

And, Katy Arena, owner of the cozy Katy’s Café — the popular meeting spot for a delicious breakfast and lunch — is getting ready to open another location in Great Valley that will also be open for dinner. The expansion makes it possible for Arena to expand her exquisite cake design and catering business.

New Residential/Vacation Communities

Several new residential communities in Ellicottville are in various stages of planning and development.

At 16 Martha St., developers are renovating the former American Locker business’s vacant buildings to create an 18-unit rental apartment complex called EVLofts.

One of Ellicottville’s most historic buildings, the 1887 schoolhouse building at the corner of Jefferson and Washington streets, is being restored to its finest, as the new owners turn the interior into a 7-10 unit luxury condominium with underground parking.

Two new housing developments are being planned on Fillmore Street: the Glendale project, a proposed townhouse community with nine homes (18 units) on the east side, and the Sprague project, a proposed 19-lot, single-family home subdivision, on the west side.

And, closings on 21 of the 31 available lots for single-family homes at HoliMont’s WestMont Ridge are underway as homeowners begin work on their architectural plans. Plus, 18 new condominium buildings with four units each (72 total) that will be located at the base of the Sunset area are in the design stages.

Ellicottville Central School

At the Ellicottville Central School, significant construction progress is being made on the $9.8 million renovation project that includes a new multi-purpose gymnasium, renovation of 10 classrooms, repair of the elementary school’s ventilation systems and more. In January, district voters approved an additional $925,000 to be spent to replace two major roof areas, construct a new vestibule at the south entrance to the school and purchase a state-of-the-art sound system.

Municipal Projects/Improvements

Although physical construction halts during winter, local governments have been working to complete plans and design several major projects that will begin as soon as the ground thaws.

The Town of Ellicottville has functionally completed a large and important water project that will alleviate water pressure problems throughout the area, improve fire hydrant performance and allow expansion efforts for public safety and development. The project required installing a new water tank on the east side of Ellicottville and connecting its water lines.

With the completion of the tank, the Village of Ellicottville is able to begin construction of a $4.9 million wastewater treatment plant in 2015. The new plant is part of a consent order by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and involves extensive electrical upgrades, new equipment and new systems. Ultimately, the new plant will upgrade the aging system the area currently relies on and will provide for future development.

Road Work

With winter come potholes, and this particular winter led to record-breaking pothole population growth. Area highway departments, which remain at Mother Nature’s mercy, are working as quickly as they can to make repairs.

While that work is underway, two major Ellicottville road projects are scheduled to begin in April.

One is the NYS Department of Transportation’s work on a multi-faceted road and sidewalk project that began last year. It includes improving drainage and constructing a new sidewalk along Route 242 from HoliMont to the village. Most of the drainage and curb work was completed last year. In addition to the sidewalk, the DOT plans to improve handicapped ramps at several village intersections and to reconfigure the difficult intersection at Route 219/Elizabeth Street/Fillmore Drive.

The other is a major Holiday Valley project, which will reroute Holiday Valley Road between the Tamarack Club and Valley Village. The new route will head up the hill across from Tamarack, along the top of the existing third tier parking lot and back around to the existing roadway. The existing road in front of the lodge, administration and operations buildings will be removed and replaced with more parking and a wide area with steps and landscaping leading to the main lodge. The intent of the project is to improve both traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

Watch carefully for detour and construction signs throughout the area as these projects proceed.

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