Town of Lewiston receives federal grant for bike path
Departments update town board on current operation budgets
by Larry Austin
Lewiston Porter Sentinel, August 13, 2005
U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter notified the Town of Lewiston board in an Aug. 1 letter that Congress' federal transportation bill includes $108 million for highway projects for the Buffalo area. Within that sum is $1.84 million for a recreational bike path from the City of Niagara Falls to the Town of Lewiston.
As reported last week in the Sentinel, the path would link a pathway along the upper Gorge to the existing Town of Lewiston bike path below the hill that runs from Mohawk Street along the Robert Moses Parkway to Pletcher Road and north to the Village of Youngstown.
At Monday's town work session, Lewiston Town Supervisor Fred Newlin said the pathways, similar to those in Canada, bring tourist dollars to the area.
More Tourism Dollars
"Anytime you see people moving around, that means that's dollars moving around," Newlin said. "Dollars that we generate from tourists are one less dollar we have to generate for services supplied to the taxpayer by the taxpayer. So we all have an interest in seeing tourism thrive here in Niagara County."
Newlin credited the Niagara County Public Works Department for applying for the grant that generated the appropriation to Lewiston.
The path would connect the City of Niagara Falls and the Town of Lewiston. Newlin said he will begin talks with Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello to see how the town and city can "meet each other halfway" on issues related to the path.
"If there is a difference between the $1.84 million that is appropriated in this federal bill and the final cost, I think it probably would be fair for the Town of Lewiston and the City of Niagara Falls to split the difference," Newlin said.
Money could come from the Greenway funds secured in the recently finalized New York Power Authority relicensing agreement, Newlin said.
Town Councilman John Ceretto said the town has worked on the bike path proposal for eight years. Not only will the transportation bill generate tourist dollars, he said, but also it will improve access between the village and escarpment area. When the parkway was originally built, Ceretto said, the state inadvertently created a physical barrier between those living above the hill and those living in the village.
"There's always been a wall there," Ceretto said. "Not only the safety I was worried about, but it's almost like a Berlin Wall."
"You see more and more people and biking and walking and things like that," he added. "So this is a quality of life issue, and I think that this is very good for Lewiston."