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Ellicott Trail

August 13, 2019 - 5:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, Tonawanda Creek, batavia, news.

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Work crews spent most of the day finishing installation of a footbridge, as part of the new Ellicott Trail, scheduled to open this fall, over the Tonawanda Creek at Walnut Street in Batavia.

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August 12, 2019 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, parks, news, batavia.

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The bridge that will span the Tonawanda Creek as part of the Ellicott Trail is being installed today.

The $1.7-million project will provide a biking and walking trail from just west of Williams Park to Seven Springs Road (see map).

(Editor's note: For a closer look at the trail map, click here.)

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April 24, 2019 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, news, batavia.

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Driving down Walnut Street in Batavia you may notice several trees have been removed and the logs are piled up on the east side of the Tonawanda Creek.

The tree removal is part of the Ellicott Trail project.

The trail will cross the creek in this area and in July, according to Matt Worth, Batavia's director of Public Works, a bridge will be placed across the creek at this location.

The 4.6 mile, $1.7 million trail -- a cooperative effort between the City, the Town, the County, and the State, should open sometime in the fall.

The trail is designed for recreational use by pedestrians and bicyclists.

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November 15, 2017 - 9:23pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Town Board, Ellicott Trail.

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post says he sees three positives in the municipality’s 2018 budget, a $5,052,614 spending plan that was adopted tonight at the Town Board’s monthly meeting at the Town Hall on West Main Street Road.

“We’re reducing overall spending, we’re keeping the taxes flat and we’re maintaining steady growth,” Post said following the meeting.

Post was pleased to report that the tax rate will remain the same as 2017 -- $2.64 per thousand of assessed valuation – although the amount to be raised by taxes increased slightly from $1,000,000 to $1,008,000.

For a town resident with a home assessed at $90,000, the yearly tax bill will be $237.60.

Overall spending in this year’s budget, including general and highway funds, goes down slightly from the $5,140,462 figure in 2017.

“(The final budget) is pretty consistent from the preliminary budget, and we may see an additional uptick in revenue – north of $6,000,” Post said, noting that final revenue numbers won’t be available until after the first of the year.

However, he said he is apprehensive of what will come from negotiations with Genesee County on the sales tax agreement, hoping that the share to the Town doesn’t decrease.

The supervisor praised the Town’s staff for “being pretty efficient" -- "most of the employees wear two to three hats,” he said -- and touted the Town’s efforts in attracting “millions of dollars in grant funding” to create opportunities for economic development.

“We’re also seeing some of the PILOTS (payments in lieu of taxes) coming off properties,” he said. “On one parcel (where the PILOT ended) we made an additional $48,000, which could stabilize and perhaps offset (any loss in sales tax revenue)."

He also pointed to the board’s decision to take out a five-year bond to finance a new nine-ton excavator from Admar Supply Co., based in Buffalo, as a fiscally prudent move. Admar submitted the lowest of four bids -- $102,687.

“Rental costs have been going up,” Post said, “so we felt that purchasing one with the use of serial bonds would be the best way to go. Now, when we need it, we have it (instead of using a neighboring town’s excavator).”

The board also appropriated $542,934 from the unexpended fund balance to keep taxes in check, up from the $475,808 that was used for the 2017 budget.

Post said the Batavia Fire District tax rate is expected to remain the same as last year (that will be approved at the Dec. 20 meeting), and that the Town’s water and sewer rates show “single digit increases.”

The base residential water rate for May 2018 to February 2019 is set at $5.36 per thousand gallons and the agricultural water rate for the same period is $3.87 per thousand gallons. The sewer rate is $6.68 per thousand gallons for one year beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

In other developments, the board:

-- Signed on to an agreement with the Town of Alabama to operate and maintain that municipality's water distribution, a 255,000 linear feet system that essentially covers the entire town.

-- Approved a contract with New York Municipal Insurance Reciprocal for $65,516.04 to provide health insurance coverage for one year, starting on Nov. 27. The cost includes cyber coverage.

-- Authorized payment of $1 for an easement on Call Parkway for the contractor of the new Mercy Flight building to install 450 feet of water main.

-- Voted to buy of a new 10-foot snow pusher blade from George & Swede Sales & Services of Pavilion for $2,245, agreeing to trade a 96” HLA front-end loader bucket in the deal.

-- Approved a three-year commitment at $10,000 per year to CY Farms for the latter’s development, operation and maintenance of the Batavia Sports Park soccer fields on Bank Street Road, and the funding of four summer youth recreation programs for 2018: City of Batavia ($3,442), Oakfield-Alabama ($997), Elba ($906) and Byron-Bergen ($906).

-- Accepted two property donations to benefit the Ellicott Trail pedestrian/bicycle project – one from Oakwood Hills LLC off East Main Street Road to relinquish abandoned railroad land and the other from Ellicott Station LLC.

May 16, 2017 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in DeWitt Recreation Area, batavia, Ellicott Trail, news.

Plans continue to move forward for construction of the Ellicott Trail, a 4.6-mile, east-west pedestrian and bicycle path through the Town of Batavia and around and in the City, connecting parks and other points of interest.

Yesterday, the County's Public Service Committee recommended approval of an inter-municipal agreement between the Town and the County to construct the portion of the path through DeWitt Recreation Area, with a bridge over some wetlands.

The path will pass north of the lake and come out at Route 5 near the Tractor Supply store.

The bridge would be made of aluminum, said Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

"We wanted to avoid pressure-treated timber because when it gets wet it gets slimy and slippery," Hens said.

The bridge cost is $85,000 plus $30,000 in in-kind county labor expense, which will assist the Town of Batavia in meeting matching funds requirements for grants.

The funds will come from capital reserves already set aside for improvements to the park.

"It's a pretty sharp bridge," Hens said.

The total Ellicott Trail project is expected to cost $1.7 million, and 80 percent of the cost will be covered by a state grant.

For prior coverage of the Ellicott Trail, click here.

March 13, 2017 - 8:42pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia City Council, Ellicott Trail.

City Council on Monday night passed numerous resolutions, most notably the 2017-18 city budget, which was approved by an 8-1 vote (with Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian dissenting).

The $24 million budget -- of which $16.5 million comprises the general fund -- calls for a property tax levy of $5.2 million and an increase of less than 1 percent in the tax rate.

Passage of the budget was welcome news for Julie Pacatte, coordinator of the Batavia Development Corporation, who attended the meeting along with BDC President Pier Cipollone.

"It means that the city is supporting us in more good work to do, particularly related to the Brownfield Opportunity Area advancement," Pacatte said. "This budget, specifically, has some additional carve-outs to help us advance our second BOA site – Creek Park – behind the (Falleti) ice arena (on Evans Street)."

Before the budget vote, Christian expressed her disappointment with the fact that city revenues are down by $458,000 and that a sales tax agreement has yet to be reached with Genesee County.

"Also, I've been waiting for sidewalks on Clifton Avenue (in her Ward) for over 12 years and wanted some of the money from the VLT (video lottery terminals at Batavia Downs Gaming) for a pool on the Southside," she said.

This prompted Robert Bialkowski to mention that no one spoke against the budget during last month's public hearing and that City Manager Jason Molino met Council's request to reduce the tax increase to less than 1 percent.

Adoption of the spending plan means that the tax bill for a city resident with a house assessed at $90,000 will now be about $838 for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Council President Eugene Jankowski noted that the property tax levy of $5.2 million is only about a third of the total general budget, and asked for a breakdown of the revenue stream.

Molino pointed out that, beyond the $5 million from property taxes, about $6 million comes in from sales taxes, another $1.7 million from state aid, and the rest from an assortment of fees, aid, grants, income from services provided and mortgage taxes.

In other action, Council:

-- Passed resolutions establishing slightly higher new water rates and meter fees, a 2.75-percent increase for non-union city employees (including management) and slight wage increases for part-time and seasonal city employees. All three of those resolutions passed by 7-2 votes, with Christian and Paul Viele voting "no" in each instance.

-- Voted unanimously to adopt a local law to amend the Business Improvement District Plan.

Molino said the amendment to the plan was a lowering of the assessment charge on the properties in the Business Improvement District because of the expiration of a large debt service payment.

"The amount levied is going down from about $120,000 to about $57,000," he said. "So what property owners can expect to see in the BID is a decrease in that BID assessment charge."

In an email to The Batavian, Molino said that the BID Plan identifies two sources for funding the activities of the Business Improvement District: the Business Improvement District assessment (BID Assessment) and the City of Batavia. The BID Assessment for each property is calculated by multiplying the assessed valuation of the property by the BID assessment rate.

In accordance with the General Municipal Law 980-k, a BID is limited in the amount of money that can be raised through the assessment. The district assessment charge, excluding debt service, may not exceed 20 percent of the total general municipal taxes levied in a year against the taxable property in the BID.

As of Feb. 1, it is estimated that 20 percent of the total general municipal taxes levied in 2017-18 against the taxable property in the BID is $57,926, based on current taxable assessed values and the existing City property tax rate. The BID assessment rate is estimated to be $1.844 per $1,000 of assessed value. There is currently no debt service to be paid for with district assessment charges.

-- Welcomed new Batavia City Police officers Ryan Shea and Matthew Dispenza, who were officially sworn in by City Clerk Heidi Parker, and recognized Jayme Privitera, of Le Roy, for submitting the first-place logo in the Ellicott Trail Logo Contest, which was reported first on The Batavian last month.

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From left, Assistant Chief Todd Crossett, Ryan Shea, Matthew Dispenza, Chief Shawn Heubusch.

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City Councilwoman Kathleen Briggs reads a proclamation honoring Jayme Privitera, who created the winning logo in the Ellicott Trail Logo Contest. Photos by Mike Pettinella.

February 17, 2017 - 3:36pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Trail, town of batavia, Batavia City Council.

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JAYME PRIVITERA -- FIRST PLACE

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RICHARD GROSS -- SECOND PLACE

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KRISTEN STEPHANY -- THIRD PLACE

The Ellicott Trail Project has its logo, and it’s the work of an accomplished graphic artist from Le Roy who is no stranger to entering (and winning) competitions that are open to the public.

“I’m really excited about the fact that people will be able to see something that I created,” said Jayme Privitera, a professional graphic designer for the past decade.

Privitera’s captured First Place in the competition that was set up by the Ellicott Trail Project steering committee to find a logo that best represents the proposed 4.6-mile bicycle/pedestrian path that will run from Seven Springs Road to Pearl Street Road (Route 33).

She won $100 for her logo, which will be used in many ways, such as on all-weather exterior signs, way-finding maps, stainless steel sidewalk emblems and, eventually, banners, stickers and fliers.

Richard Gross, of Wyoming, took Second Place, winning $75, while Kristen Stephany, of Warsaw, placed third, good for $25.

Members of the steering committee, led by Tom Lichtenthal, who also is serving as project manager for the Town of Batavia, made their selections on Thursday afternoon.

Lichtenthal said that 26 finalists out of the 176 submissions were considered at yesterday’s meeting. Entries came in from students and adults – from the age of 10 to 58 – from 15 communities in Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Erie, Wyoming, Niagara and Allegany counties.

Privitera said her goal was to keep the logo simple (per contest rules) and “easily recognizable, emphasizing that it was for a trail – something that keeps going.”

Two years ago, she won a statewide contest conducted by adnetworkny.com. Since 2011, she has provided graphic design for Lake Country PennySaver in Albion.

The logo will be officially unveiled at the Batavia City Council meeting on Feb. 27, Lichtenthal said.

Gross, a former ironworker and fabricator, said he does 3D modeling in his home “for fun.” He said he focused on the location of the trail and keeping the logo uncluttered.

Stephany is an adult student in her last semester at Genesee Community College where she is majoring in Graphic Arts. She said her goal was to use text that rendered “a bit of elegance and class” to the logo.

In December, Lichtenthal reported that the $1.7-million joint venture between the city and town was on schedule for completion by Thanksgiving.

The Town of Batavia is acting as lead agency for the project, which is being funded for the most part – 80 percent -- by a New York State Department of Transportation grant. The Town of Batavia and City of Batavia are contributing 10 percent each.

A Municipal Facility Grant of $250,000 will pay for a new bridge on Walnut Street, Lichtenthal said, while a portion of funds from a Genesee County Parks Department capital project will pay for a boardwalk at DeWitt Recreation Area.

December 7, 2016 - 8:18am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Trail.

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Community members, young and old, are eligible to participate in the Ellicott Trail project logo competition that has been set up by the bicycle/pedestrian path’s steering committee.

Three cash prizes -- $100 for first place, $75 for second and $25 for third -- are being offered to those who submit the logos that are judged the best to represent the 4.6-mile trail that will run from Seven Springs Road to Pearl Street Road (Route 33).

A story about Tuesday night’s public information meeting can be found below.

The new logo will be used in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, all-weather exterior signs, way-finding maps, stainless steel sidewalk emblems and, eventually, banners, stickers and fliers.

The contest calls for submissions to be simple, single-color designs that can be converted into stainless steel emblems. Every entry must include the trail’s official name or initials (or both), and include a graphic element or design. Entries should be approximately 8-inches by 8-inches.

“We’re looking for the logo to be fairly simplistic – not overly intricate,” said Thomas Lichtenthal Jr., project coordinator.

Submission guidelines are as follows:

-- Send hard copies to Lisa Casey, City of Batavia, One Batavia City Centre, Batavia, NY 14020;
-- Electronic submittals to [email protected], emailed as JPG files, no smaller than 500KB and no larger than 3MB;
-- No limit to the number of entries one person or team can submit;
-- No entries will be returned, and winning entry becomes the exclusive property of the City and Town of Batavia for its unlimited use;
-- All entries must include the designer’s name, address, phone number, email and age;
-- Questions should be directed to Donna Rae Sutherland, at 585-343-0055, ext. 6616, or [email protected].

Deadline for all entries is Jan. 30.

Graphic above depicts possible logos -- example, the E and T on each side of railroad tracks.

December 6, 2016 - 10:25pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Ellicott Trail, city of batavia, town of batavia.

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A 4.6-mile, east-west pedestrian and bicycle path known as the Ellicott Trail is at the halfway point to completion, according to the coordinator of the $1.7-million venture that will traverse through roads, parks, wetlands and abandoned railway beds in the Town and City of Batavia.

Speaking at a public information meeting on Tuesday night at the City Centre Council Chambers, Thomas Lichtenthal Jr., Town of Batavia highway superintendent and assistant engineer, said the project is on schedule.

“We hope to be on the path (pun intended) by late summer or early fall of next year,” Lichtenthal (in photo at top) said to about two dozen people in attendance. “And we’d like to see it finished before Christmas, hopefully by Thanksgiving.”

Lichtenthal’s presentation took the audience from one end of the trail to the other, pointing out specific tasks that need to be done at various points. The trail’s eastern entrance will be on Seven Springs Road, near the new Oakwood Hills subdivision, and its western entrance will be on Pearl Street Road, in the vicinity of River Street.

In between, it will pass over a refurbished existing bridge over the CSX railway off of East Main Street Road, wind its way through DeWitt Park off Cedar Street (where a “boardwalk” will move bikers and walkers over wetlands there), move on to Lions Park and Elmwood Cemetery, travel down Ellicott Street Road, behind the proposed Ellicott Station development, across a new trail bridge on Walnut Street over the Tonawanda Creek, and past Williams Park to Pearl Street Road.

But before all that can happen, construction crews have much dirt to move and concrete to pour as plans include the construction of a 10-foot wide stone dust trail on the off-road sections and a 10-foot wide sidewalk on the road sections.

Furthermore, right-of-way agreements (easements) with owners of about 16 private properties that are affected by the trail need to be signed, Lichtenthal noted.

“We are talking to property owners, and letting them know what needs to be done,” he said. “All right-of-way owners (and several of them were at the meeting) are on board with the project at this point.”

The Town of Batavia is acting as lead agency for the project, which is being funded for the most part – 80 percent -- by a New York State Department of Transportation grant. The Town of Batavia and City of Batavia are contributing 10 percent each.

A Municipal Facility Grant of $250,000 acquired through the efforts of Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer will pay for the new bridge on Walnut Street, Lichtenthal said, while a portion of funds from a Genesee County Parks Department capital project will pay for the boardwalk at DeWitt Park.

Lichtenthal said the trail will be populated by sidewalk way-finding signs and bicycle route signs, and will be open only during daylight hours – dawn to dusk.

He said providing clear directions and making sure those who use the trail are safe are priorities. He and Matthew Worth, director of public works for the City of Batavia, are working together on the signage details.

“With the on-road segments, the big thing with that is going to be way-finding – to let the people know that if you’re on the trail, you’re on the trail, and to be able to follow that trail all the way through the city so that you don’t get lost as you’re making your way from one end to the other,” he said.

City Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian said she was in favor of the project but was concerned about the safety of pedestrians and bikers, especially those who may be in need of help.

Lichtenthal and Worth responded by stating that fire, medical and police vehicles will be able to drive on the trail – except over the Walnut Street bridge – and that city police will employ their bicycle patrols during the spring and summer months. Otherwise, no motor vehicles will be allowed on the trail.

An Edward Street resident said parking and traffic in his neighborhood when Batavia Youth Football League games are being played at Lions Park would make it tough on those using the trail. Worth said city and football officials are talking about relocating the games to a “more suitable” location.

The trail’s main purpose, in Lichtenthal’s view, is to provide an alternative mode of transportation for those wanting to go shopping or enjoy time at city parks.

“Or you can use this as a physical exercise trail … you’ve got 4.6 miles,” he said. “If you go from one end to the other, you’ve got nine miles available for walking and physical fitness.”

He said the primary challenges deal with the off-road sections.

“They’re old, abandoned railroads that haven’t been maintained (and) there’s a lot of tree growth, culverts; there’s all kinds of stuff on those off-road sections that we need to improve those to make this … an off-road experience that’s pleasurable,” he noted.

For Jacob Bodway, a city resident affiliated with the WNY Mountain Biking Association, the Ellicott Trail project is a key tool in attracting Millennials to Batavia.

“If you want to draw young professionals to a community, this is a way to do it,” he said, adding that future plans to extend the trail to Le Roy and also further west will result in people from outside the area coming to use it.

With two of eight milestones on the project timetable in the books (stakeholder meeting and public meeting), the next steps are the submission of the trail’s reevaluation statement by Dec. 9 and advanced detail plans by Jan. 6. Final plans are scheduled to be submitted by February and right-of-way acquisitions completed by March. Bidding on construction is set to take place in April, with work starting in June.

August 18, 2016 - 10:41am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, batavia, news, micheal ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced $250,000 in state funding to assist with the construction of the Ellicott Trail, the first pedestrian and bicycle trail within Genesee County.

The proposed 4.6-mile multi-modal pedestrian and bicyclist trail will provide a new route through the City and Town of Batavia, including off-road sections, to offer more efficient and safer options for travelers.

“I am pleased to have been able to secure funding for the Town and City of Batavia to construct the Ellicott Trail. The trail will connect major activity centers and commerce, while offering a new, safer way for residents to get around in the community,” Ranzenhofer said.

New off-road trail sections will improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists as they will not need to compete with vehicular traffic. In addition, the on-road sections will be signed and striped for bicyclists to alert motorists; crosswalks at key intersections will also be signed, and in some instances enhanced, to emphasize pedestrian crossings along the route.

"I’m extremely pleased with the efforts of the City and Town collaborators with the Senator’s office to help make this project a reality. This will be a first of its kind in Genesee County, and just the beginning of what will hopefully be a County-wide trail," said Town Supervisor Greg Post.

“This has been a collaborative effort from the beginning, and we are extremely pleased to have an asset like the Ellicott Trail come through the center of our City. The Ellicott Trail, once constructed, will be a permanent fixture that will bring commerce and recreational users to our County for years to come,” said City Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr.

Ranzenhofer secured the funding through the State and Municipal Facilities Grant Program. Construction of the new trail is expected to start early next year and be completed by the end of 2017. The total cost of the project is $1.36 million.

In 2014, the Town of Batavia, in partnership with the City, received $1 million in federal funding, through the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP), to complete a 4.6-mile multi-modal pedestrian and bicyclist trail. The TEP program required a $341,500 local match to complete the project. Senator Ranzenhofer’s grant will be used to offset the local match.

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