Batavia resident Jason Smith provided these photos of geese on a pond along Ellicott Trail, taken during his Sunday morning walk.
The bike path located at endpoints of Evans and Jackson streets, South of Route 63, Ellicott Street and North of Salvation Army Family Store in Batavia will be closed to pedestrian and bike traffic for ground and civil construction activities from approximately Oct. 3, 2022 to May 31, 2023.
Traffic will be detoured around the area for the scheduled duration of the project. Local access to businesses will be maintained. Please see the attached reference map for more information.
All construction areas will be marked by barricades and road closure signs. Please abide by all signage and follow designated traffic routes. This scope of work is scheduled to start on Oct. 3 and will be completed by May 31, 2023. The typical hours of construction will be 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“The Town of Batavia will be performing water line maintenance near the Ellicott Trail at the East Main Street Road crossing on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022. Walkers and bikers should use caution in this area as the maintenance is being performed.”
The first New York State Bike Census has been developed and Genesee County certainly is going along for the ride.
County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari today said the state bicycle census – actually a survey that takes only a couple of minutes to complete – fits in well with the Genesee’s newly-adopted Recreation Plan.
“Our rec plan has a lot to say about this,” Oltramari said. “Community trails are a major recommendation of the plan (and the availability of trails is touched upon in the state census).”
Oltramari said that although the county did its own surveying through the Genesee 2050 project that created the Recreation Plan, the NYS Bike Census “will help bring those initiatives we identified up to the state level which should help when searching for funding opportunities.”
Here is the link to the state bike census:
Created through a partnership between the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Urban Cycling Solutions, the cycling census represents New York’s first statewide dataset on bicycle integration with mass transit.
The purpose of this short survey is to collect insights from cyclists and transit customers from all over the state to better understand opportunities and barriers for active first/last mile transportation.
Each participant will be entered to win one of three $150 Planet Bike gift cards as long as an email address is provided at the end of the survey.
Oltramari said county plans include expanding Ellicott Trail east and west, creating trailhead (parking/access) locations for this trail and adding connections/new corridors to form a trail network through the county.
Additionally, plans call for identifying appropriate town, county and state roads for paving of shoulders to facilitate recreational and multiuse purposes.
Per the Recreation Plan:
“In the absence of other trail facilities throughout the county, paved shoulders on the edge of certain Genesee County roadways can be enhanced to serve as safe and functional space for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel. Paving of road shoulders would be appropriate in more rural areas where there are few designated trails and expected pedestrian and bicycle activity. Walkable and bikeable shoulders could be provided along both sides of county roads routinely used by pedestrians.”
Jason Smith shared this picture from yesterday of a deer crossing the Ellicott Trail.
Volunteers turned out in droves yesterday for two big Earth-Day-related cleanups of public spaces in Batavia.
First was an effort to pickup litter along the Ellicott Trail. Also, County Parks officials hosted an Earth Day event at DeWitt Recreation Area that included not just a cleanup but Scouts involved in projects and games and information booths about taking care of our planet.
The Genesee Valley Branch of the American Public Works Association New York Chapter today honored three Genesee County municipal professionals and the Ellicott Trail walking/bicycle path project team with awards for 2020 during a ceremony via Zoom videoconferencing.
This year’s APWA award winners include:
- Timothy Hens, Genesee County highway superintendent and engineer, Public Works Leader of the Year;
- Thomas Lichtenthal, Town of Batavia assistant engineer and highway superintendent, Professional Manager of the Year/Transportation;
- Steven Carroll, Village of Le Roy water/wastewater superintendent and plant operator, Charles Walter Nichols Award for excellence in the environmental field.
- Ellicott Trail, the 4.9-mile venture of the Town and City of Batavia and Genesee County, Project of the Year, Small Cities/Rural Communities.
Peter Vars, left, president of the Genesee Valley Branch of the APWA New York Chapter, and Timothy Hens.
Hens has served Genesee County since 1998 following five years of success as an engineer in the Air Force, where he served as a civil engineer, transportation and facility design engineer and chief of engineering at three different bases. He also traveled to the Middle East where he oversaw construction in seven different countries as an environmental compliance officer, and worked closely with the United Nations in dealing with hazardous waste in Iraq.
The APWA noted that he is well-respected at the local, state and national levels and acknowledged his many accomplishments during his 22 years as Genesee County highway superintendent, and director of facilities, county airport and parks.
Per the nomination:
“Tim’s influence extends beyond the county level as an active member of the state County Highway Superintendents’ Association (he was its president in 2014). He was president of the National Association of County Engineers in 2019, where he worked closely with other county leaders across the nation to advocate for the importance of local infrastructure. His connections have helped bring funding sources to local governments across NYS.”
His accomplishments in Genesee County include: leading a $52 million countywide water system improvement project that expanded public water to hundreds of households and businesses; another $90 million countywide water system expansion that is ongoing; a $25 million project to upgrade the Genesee County Airport; and the $9.2 million County Sheriff’s Office administration building and emergency communications facility project.
In accepting the award, Hens said “I’m only able to accept the award because I have tremendous staff and family behind me. Public works, obviously, takes a lot of time from your schedule. Sometimes you get called out at 1 in the morning and you don’t get back home until 12 o’clock at night the next day, and your family is wondering where you are the whole time.”
He credited his project managers and staff, and his deputies – Paul Osborn, Dave Wozniak and Laura Wadhams – and Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Chris Klein, Airport Manager Jason Long, and front office staff of Laura Mullen and Lisa Grice.
“These are the people that I lean on heavily and, quite honestly, it’s relationships like that that let you get the work done,” he said. “Our staff at the highway department all the way down to the flagmen that we hire for the summer do an outstanding job and really allow us to do what we do.”
Hens emphasized the strong relationships that Genesee County has forged over the years with other highway superintendents and the numerous consultants, engineers and architects that contract with the county on various projects.
“Without these relationships, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today,” he said.
Vars and Thomas Lichtenthal
Lichtenthal was recognized for his “exceptional leadership and management” of the transportation-related Ellicott Trail project and for his many achievements in the public transportation field.
He has served the Town of Batavia for the past 10 years, and prior to that was a consulting transportation engineer. He worked on many notable public works projects, such as the University Avenue Art Walk and the Stutson Street Bridge in Rochester.
More recently, he has managed the successful completion of projects in the Batavia area, including the Ellicott Trail, the Ag-Park Drive and the Kiwanis Park inclusive playground.
APWA officials cited his “visionary leadership, commitment and dedication” over his career, noting that he has a variety of duties as a Town of Batavia employee.
Per his nomination:
“A large part of his current duties are managing engineering projects, planning snow and ice removal schedules, and budgeting for new equipment and personnel, but other duties may find him in the field on a backhoe, digging a new drainage ditch or trying to repair a service vehicle or truck that has broken down in the field.”
As he accepted the award, Lichtenthal thanked three people, specifically, and all of the town, county and city workers who pulled together to make the Ellicott Trail a reality.
“There are three key people who taught me a lot about engineering and project management,” he said. “My mentor out of college, George Mason … who taught me to pay attention to the details … Wilson Ballard, the CEO of the first company I worked for … who said to always be focused on the big picture … make sure you’re heading in the right direction … and my wife, Jean, who taught me about teamwork and about what it takes to make a project work – the people.”
Vars and Steven Carroll
Carroll was honored for his expertise and perseverance in managing staff needs and aging infrastructure to troubleshooting operational issues at the Village of Le Roy wastewater plant on Red Mill Road.
A Retsof resident, Carroll has worked in Le Roy for six years following a 13-year stint at the Livingston County Water & Sewer Authority.
In 2017, he was named Operator of the Year by the New York Water Environment Association for turning around an underperforming wastewater plant, and, according to APWA officials, he continues to consistently go above and beyond when it comes to preserving the community’s clean waterways.
Per his nomination:
“(Steve) has shown leadership while managing through a loss of an assistant operator and helping his remaining staff members obtain their operator’s licenses. He is a problem-solver who took a multitasked approach to tackling a bacterial foaming problem at his plant and also an illegal source of septage into his system. Professionalism and performance of his duties are a true benefit to the Le Roy community and our collective environment.”
In accepting the award, Carroll thanked his wife, Lonni, employees Rob Semmel and Andre Carmel, and the Village of Le Roy for their support.
“This was really a big surprise,” he said. “It’s one thing to know you’re doing your best, but it’s completely an honor for someone to say, ‘Hey, good job, you’re doing it the right way.’ ”
The award was established in 1951 by Charles Walter Nichols of Nichols Engineering Research Corporation to recognize outstanding and meritorious achievement in the environmental field in its broadest sense. Eligibility includes those who work in disciplines such as disposal and recycling, sewers and sewage treatment, water supply, and water treatment.
Vars presents award to Steve Mountain, surrounded by members of the Ellicott Trail project team.
ELLICOTT TRAIL PROJECT TEAM
APWA officials said the $1.6 million Ellicott Trail is “a true example of public-private partnership with collaboration between four public agencies, engineering consultants and numerous citizens.”
Barton & Lojuidice assisted on a preliminary design, while the Town of Batavia handled the final design and right-of-way coordination. The 10-foot wide, 4.9-mile trail features on- and off-road elements, including three new bridges, with a section that goes through Elmwood Cemetery and winds through two parks.
The state Department of Transportation provided local project oversight, Ravi Engineering provided on-site construction and quality control; and Keeler Construction built two of the bridges. The third was donated and constructed by Genesee County.
The trail was paid for by the Town and City of Batavia, Federal Highway Administration, the DOT and New York State.
Steve Mountain, Town of Batavia engineer, accepted the award on behalf of the entire project team.
“So much as gone into this community project over the last seven years,” he said. “To that end, this award is very gratifying and humbling for everyone involved. The project began with the community and it ended with a very satisfied and appreciative community.”
Mountain mentioned the trail’s picturesque rural setting, and acknowledged Keeler Construction along with city, town and county workers for their roles in keeping the cost down.
“And, of course, it wouldn’t have been a success without all of our partners,” he concluded, thanking the DOT, Genesee Transportation Council, Ray Tourt and the City of Batavia, Hens and Genesee County, Chad Zambito, Tony Mancuso, Pete Zeliff, the entire steering committee and the town’s engineering staff.
The Genesee Valley Branch of the APWA New York Chapter covers six counties – Genesee, Orleans, Livingston, Monroe, Wayne and Ontario. Its 100 members are public works professionals, consultants, contractors and vendors. It is one of five branches in New York.
For more information, go to its website – www.newyork.apwa.net.
This year's Earth Day Weekend cleanup project will focus on the new Ellicott Trail and the City of Batavia, Genesee County, and Town of Batavia are looking for volunteers to pitch in.
Volunteers and municipal staff will join together to collect trash and debris along the Ellicott Trail on Saturday, April 24.
Assemble at 9 a.m. in the parking lot behind the City of Batavia Fire Station on Evans Street (behind 18 Evans St.).
Social distancing and COVID-19 protocols will be followed.
Gloves, trash bags, and a trail assignment will be given out to complete the five miles of Ellicott Trail. The disposal of all trash collected will be handled by City of Batavia Bureau of Maintenance.
Earth Day Cleanup is a coordinated volunteer event, providing opportunities for individuals and organizations to make positive, tangible impacts on our environment and to keep the Ellicott Trail clean.
“The City of Batavia thanks all those community members who are volunteering to cleanup and keep Ellicott Trail looking good this Earth Day Cleanup Weekend. Your help to keep our City clean and safe is much appreciated,” said Eugene Jankowski Jr., City Council president.
Vice Chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature and City resident, Marianne Clattenburg, said, “by joining together and assisting in the cleanup effort we can give residents and visitors a better experience on the Ellicott Trail. I am excited to participate and hope community members and service groups will join us.”
“Ellicott Trail was built as a collaborative partnership between the City, Town and County and we will continue to maintain the Trail for public use and enjoyment," said Chad Zambito, Batavia Town Board member. "While this is the inaugural cleanup, there will be many more opportunities to volunteer and keep our collective community beautiful.”
If you would like to volunteer but cannot attend the Earth Day Cleanup – Ellicott Trail, please sign up through “Friends of Ellicott Trail” with John Roche from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle at: [email protected] or go to their website.
If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact Lisa Casey, confidential secretary with the City of Batavia (585) 345-6333.
As the Batavia City Council voted Monday night to consider accepting five easements from the Town of Batavia toward the maintenance of Ellicott Trail, its members encouraged residents to take pride in the 9.7-mile recreational walking and bicycling path by picking up trash along the way.
Council President Eugene Jankowski Jr. said he was on the trail recently and noted that “the part from Jackson to Pearl Street is pretty rough.”
“It’s pretty washed out and there’s debris – there’s surgical masks laying on the side of the road,” he said. “Now, that’s the new thing. (With) COVID, everybody’s throwing their masks away; they’re falling out of their pockets and this waste is laying around on our streets now, and there are some on the trail itself.”
Jankowski said he realizes that it is spring and outside has that “look to it,” but wanted to know the city’s timetable for cleanup and suggested rounding up some volunteers to help out.
City Manager Rachel Tabelski said the process starts with accepting the transfer of the easements at 665 E. Main St., Batavia Gardens, Ellicott Station (two) and Elmwood Cemetery.
The city then would be responsible for maintaining these areas as they are located inside the city limits form Pearl Street Road to Cedar Street, but the county will maintain the DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.
During planning and construction of the trail, the town acquired various easements for real property in the city but, per a resolution to be formally voted on in two weeks, these parcels will be transferred back to the city.
Tabelski also reported that a volunteer group led by John Roche, owner of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle on Center Street, is willing to help pick up trash along the trail, and that the city will schedule “ongoing maintenance” to coincide with the park schedule this spring and summer.
Officially opened last year, the 10-foot-wide trail consists of crushed stone along 4.9 miles of old railroad beds. When you add in sidewalks, bike lanes and bridges, the entire trail is 9.7 miles, with the eastern entrance on Seven Springs Road and the western entrance on Industrial Boulevard (off Pearl Street).
Council Member Robert Bialkowski said he was looking for the city’s annual cost to maintain the trail.
Tabelski said it would cost about $7,000 in materials every five years and that city Department of Public Works employees would take care of the maintenance.
Interim DPW Director Ray Tourt said “to figure on eight to 10 times per year for additional mowing.”
“As for materials, we’ll have to kind of figure it out – it is new,” he said. “The town’s idea is that we should be able to go five years without putting a new top on it – another layer of stone dust – but there are some washed out areas that they’ve committed to repair this year.”
Bialkowski then asked for an annual labor cost, to which Tourt replied, “About $4,000 annually, and we’re going to have a bump when we do that recap at around five years. And we’ve got about a week’s worth of work there, also.”
Council Member Paul Viele then asked about security on the trail, mentioning that college campuses have put up blue lights for illumination and for emergency situations.
“Do we have anything back there for these young girls walking the trail? There are a lot of idiots out there, you know, that could be hiding in the woods. I’m just concerned with safety – girls jogging, running, walking, whatever …” Viele said.
Jankowski said most people have a cell phone with them, the trail is “pretty open” and that he feels safe walking the trail because he has a view of 100 yards in each direction. He added that developers didn’t include the expense of having emergency lights, but Tabelski said Viele had a “valid point” as she has considered that as well.
Bialkowski then said he wanted to get back to his original point, calculating that the annual cost to the city for materials and labor would be about $5,500. He said that because the city’s DPW crew is already stretched, he urged residents to pick up trash when they see it and “to pitch in.”
Jankowski then brought up that he considered the trail’s crossing point on Cedar Street as dangerous.
“You can’t see that traffic from that location, and I know enough to cross down the road more. But if you follow the trail, it wants you to cross on the downslope, near the overpass where the train tracks are, and your blind spot is that left side,” he said.
He asked Tabelski to look into possibly moving it closer to the entrance of DeWitt Recreation Area. He said it was a “marking issue” and suggested moving it over about 30 feet to make it safer, especially for those riding bikes.
Calling it a “nine mile park,” Jankowski said the trail is very popular. He said he must have seen a couple hundred people along the trail recently.
Council Member John Canale then suggested an “adopt a highway” program where certain community groups commit to maintaining a section on an annual basis.
“We might somewhere down the road, may want to look at offering some various local groups, especially groups of young people, that might want to take on a project like that and say, ‘This is our portion of the trail that we’re going to adopt and every spring we’re going to go and do cleanup,’ ” he said.
Batavia City Council members are so hungry for news that the Ellicott Station project is moving forward that even budget amendments pertaining to a couple of grants approved two and three years ago are cause for celebration.
At tonight’s Conference Meeting at the City Centre Council Board Room, Interim City Manager Rachael Tabelski introduced a draft resolution amending the budget to reflect a National Grid Urban Corridor grant of $250,000 on behalf of Savarino Companies LLC of Buffalo. That's the developer of the $22.5 million mixed-use brownfield project on the site of the former Soccio & Della Penna construction company and Santy’s Tire Sales on Ellicott Street.
Ellicott Station is one of several city ventures that have been awarded funds from the state’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. Plans for the project were first announced more than four years ago.
Tabelski said the National Grid grant that was approved in 2018 along with a Restore New York grant for $500,000 approved in 2017 are “pass through” items that the City facilitates for the developer.
She said it was an oversight that the grants previously weren’t put into a resolution form and given expenditure and revenue account designations, and “will not affect our bottom line in any way.”
“The Ellicott Station project, which everyone has heard about for many years, was awarded two grants back in 2017 and 2018 – one from Empire State Development called the Restore New York grant and that is a $500,000 grant to rehab the old electric building that’s on that site,” she said following the meeting. “That will be rehabilitated to house a microbrewery business, and the city has had success with Restore New York grants in the past. That will come to Council at the next Conference meeting next month.”
She said tonight’s National Grid resolution recognizes the city as the applicant “but the work will be done by Savarino Companies.”
“The grant is for $250,000 to enhance the Ellicott Trail on the property area right behind the Savarino campus,” she said. “The trail will be enhanced with lighting, benches, (and) there will be parking areas there as well for people to utilize the trail starting in that area. The hope is that they will also use the restaurant and brewhouse that will be on that site.”
Tabelski said the grant funds won’t be turned over to Savarino Companies until the specific projects are completed.
Council Member Rose Mary Christian expressed that her patience (and apparently that of her colleagues) has been wearing a bit thin, waiting for some activity on the large parcel that is plagued by unsightly buildings with broken windows.
“We’re still up in the air (on this),” Christian said. “I just want to be sure it’s going to go through.”
Tabelski said that Samuel Savarino, the company’s chief executive officer, is looking to close on the entire project in November and December and will be required to have all of his ducks in a row at the closing.
On Sept. 16, The Batavian broke the story that Savarino Companies received nearly $5.7 million in low-income housing tax credits from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
Savarino called the HCR award “a critical component, which all the other commitments of the project which are in place have been waiting for.”
He said he hoped to start construction “anywhere between the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year.”
Savarino’s plan is to construct a five-story apartment building with 55 new, modern workforce housing units, as well as a brewery, restaurant/beer garden and potential further development on 3.31 acres. It is expected to create 20 jobs in the city’s downtown area.
Cost Adjustment Necessary
Council also moved to its Nov. 9 Business Meeting a resolution approving a contract increase of $26,013 for the creation of Ellicott Trail, a 9.7-mile bike and walking route that snakes through the city and down from Williams Park to Seven Springs Road.
The $1.7 million project was mostly paid by state Department of Transportation funds, with the City of Batavia and Town of Batavia sharing about 10 percent of the cost.
A complete analysis of the final expense indicate that the city owes $196,763 -- $26,013 more than the budgeted amount. The resolution authorizes the city to use some of its Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program funding to make up the difference.
Public Works Director Matt Worth said the city has a large enough CHIPs balance to absorb the additional cost without affecting future scheduled projects. He also said that maintenance of the trail should be minimal – mostly labor to periodically regroom the trail (adding stone dust when necessary).
Council Member John Canale commented that Ellicott Trail is becoming “the gem of the community,” adding that its popularity has proved the “naysayers” wrong.
Other Items Move Forward
The board also advanced resolutions pertaining to the Jackson Square DRI project, Carolwood Drive Extension, natural gas commodity contract, amending the municipal code to include public garages in I-1 (Industrial) zones with a special use permit, acceptance of a STOP-DWI “crackdown” award and Rotary Club grant for kayaking activities at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street.
Watch for details on those projects on Tuesday on The Batavian.
Jason Smith shared this photo of a deer he spotted along the Ellicott Trail this morning.
A caller reports three kids are hanging on the new Walnut Street Bridge, part of the new Ellicott Trail, and jumping into the Tonawanda Creek. City police are responding.
People have been using the Ellicott Trail -- especially since COVID-19 hit -- for months but yesterday was the official opening of the 9.7-mile bike and walking route that snakes through the city and down from Williams Park to Seven Springs Road.
The project cost $1.7 million, mostly funded by grants, with the city and town picking up 10 percent of the cost.
Thank you to Dean Brooks for the drone footage used in the video.
Update, June 16, 11 a.m. with link to a map of Ellicott Trail.
In the eyes of Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post, Wednesday’s grand opening of Ellicott Trail -- the 4.6-mile walking/bicycling path stretching from Seven Springs Road to Pearl Street Road – illustrates perfectly what can be achieved through collaboration.
“It’s a great example of what communities can do working together, in spite of COVID, in spite of setbacks, in spite of funding issues. This has been legitimately and overwhelmingly successful,” Post said during last night’s Town Board meeting via Zoom videoconferencing.
A joint venture of the Town and City of Batavia with support from Genesee County, Ellicott Trail is actually about 9 miles from end to end if you include sidewalks and bridges.
CLICK HERE for a webpage that includes a map of the Ellicott Trail.
The $1.7 million project was funded mostly by a state Department of Transportation grant, with the City and Town each contributing 10 percent of the cost.
Post commended all those who worked to make the trail a reality – “there probably has been 100 persons involved in design, development, construction and administration,” he noted – and had high praise for the Town Highway Department, led by Tom Lichtenthal, highway superintendent.
“It has been an extraordinary effort by those three gentlemen that serve Tom in the highway department as well as Tom putting in yeoman’s hours … to complete all of these tasks under some pretty serious deadlines,” Post said.
The Town received a certificate of merit from the New York State Assembly, recognition fronted by Assemblyman Stephen Hawley.
Post said the project hasn’t been an easy one to navigate.
“I appreciate everyone’s attendance in constructing this project over the last four and a half years,” he said. “It has been one of the largest boondoggles administratively that we’ve ever undertaken, but I think it’s one of the showcase constructs and is very visible and well received …”
In other developments, Post:
-- Reported that Town employees have been working overtime to deal with recent water pressure issues.
“Crews have been working 12 hour days, seven days a week, contending with unprecedented amount (of demand) that have taxed the resources, so we’re now pulling water from Monroe County, Erie County and the City of Batavia’s plant,” he said. “There have been a few times where it has been very close to not having enough water.”
He said there was an incidental pressure drop for an hour on one segment of Galloway Road, but since then “we have installed a booster pump and 800 feet of 8-inch water main on Powers Road, and through shared services with the New York State Thruway today, secured that with barriers to prevent any expansion or contraction issues that may interrupt that flow. So, we’re still maintaining pressure flow to everywhere in the town.”
Post said while Genesee County is working on getting additional water flow from the east, the Town is placing “a priority on any unnecessary use of water or any unanticipated use of water for firefighting services” that will result in the need to add people on to operate valves for an interim period.
-- Acknowledged the revenue distribution to towns and villages passed yesterday by the Genesee County Legislature’s Ways & Means Committee.
“On a good note, I’d like to inform everyone that there was a Ways & Means Committee (meeting), that has adopted a proposal to distribute some revenue sharing to all the communities,” he said.
“The amounts are listed in the paper (actually on The Batavian, click here to view), and we also did receive our discounted money from the video lottery terminal (generated by Batavia Downs Gaming).
-- Advised that Town Hall staff will continue to operate remotely, but the drive-thru window will be open.
“Courts are opening on a limited basis and that will continue as they get new direction from the state on their email train,” he said.
He also said he will be renewing a state of emergency declaration effective at 6 o’clock today “to comply with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and state and federal requirements to maintain cash flow -- so that reimbursements will be seamless for the additional costs and expenses we have accrued through this episode and to continue to keep everyone healthy.”
The long-anticipated Ellicott Trail was supposed to be finished by Thanksgiving, but it's now Valentine's Day and still no dice. Why? One word: WEATHER.
"The Ellicott Trail is about 70 percent complete," said Thomas Lichtenthal Jr., Town of Batavia highway superintendent and assistant engineer. "We plan on completing it by June this year and open it to the public. We had some weather delays in the fall last year that didn't allow us to complete it."
Only four months to go, which will mark to the month when actual construction began three years prior.
The $1.7-million project is funded mainly with state Department of Transportation grant money. It's a joint venture by the City of Batavia and the Town of Batavia, with each contributing 10 percent of funding. The town is the lead agency.
A new bridge on Walnut Street was paid for with a $250,000 Municipal Facility Grant, and Genesee County Parks Department capital project funds will pay for a boardwalk at DeWitt Receation Area.
The trail itself is 4.6 miles long, but from end to end it's nine miles if you include sidewalks and bridges. It goes from Seven Springs Road to Pearl Street Road (Route 33).
Once open, during daylight hours only, signs will point the way for pedestrians and bicyclists. Motor vehicles will not be allowed on the trail, except for those of first responders -- firefighters, medics and law enforcement. City police will have bike patrols in spring and summer.
The off-road sections have been the most labor-intensive because of culverts, dilapidated railroad beds, trees and other vegetation and the removal of them.
Ellicott Trail will provide an alternative for physical exercise, the enjoyment of nature, and traversing the city and its businesses. Enthusiasts tout this kind of amenity as one that is increasingly attractive to urbanites, especially Millennials.
(Top: File image of the winning entry in the Ellicott Trail logo contest, unveiled in February 2017. It was created by Jayme Privitera, a professional graphic designer.)
Yesterday I set out to take a look at the new bridge over the railroad tracks off of East Main Street Road on the eastern end of the Ellicott Street Trail, which is expected to open late in the fall.
It was a pretty scenic spot so I ended up walking the length of the trail from the bridge to West Main Street Road, where a crossing is being installed. Then I went over to DeWitt Recreation Area to see where a bridge is being installed at the back of the park.
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.
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.)
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.