Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 30, 2013

Greenway plan debated

Niagara Gazette — Much has been made recently about proposed changes to the Niagara River Greenway plan.

Now Lewiston Supervisor Steve Reiter is firing back a week after two state legislators proposed matching bills in the assembly and senate to place a renewed emphasis on waterfront development along the Niagara River.

Reiter introduced a long-winded resolution during the Lewiston Town Board's meeting Thursday which called for the state government to reject the proposals.

"We're very concerned," Reiter said of the possibility of greenway funding becoming extremely limited. "If you think about it, projects like the Sanborn Farm Museum, the Tuscarora Heroes Monument and other, great projects wouldn't have been funded."

Created by state law in 2004, the plan was designed to improve the waterfront along the Niagara River in 13 municipalities by creating a linear system of parks and conservation areas, linked by multi-use trails. The idea called for money to be used as part of the relicensing from the New York Power Authority to achieve this goal.

However, a recently released report by the Partnership for the Public Good found $23 million of a total of nearly $50 million has been awarded by various Greenway Standing Committees which determine funding, towards projects like athletic fields, sidewalks and festivals, which, it argues, do not contribute to the adopted Greenway plan.

Both State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, proposed legislation designed to curtail such spending and focus the money back into the creation of the river park system originally conceived.

But Reiter, who said he's never met either legislator, said the town, which hosts the power authority and receives no money in return from the state entity, would be limited to working with land 1,000 feet from the river along its western boarder, while the village of Lewiston would only be eligible for land 500 feet from the border.

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