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County Legislature committee pledges funds for Westfield recreational trail

February 25, 2016
By Jimmy McCarthy ( , Westfield Republican

The development of a recreational trail in Westfield garnered support from county legislators during a recent meeting.

Members of the Planning and Economic Development approved to allocate $50,000 to support the Welch Trail Recreation Area in the village along Chautauqua Creek. The project will provide 1.25 miles of trail developed near the site where the Portage Inn once stood. The trail would become a segment of the Barcelona Harbor to Chautauqua Institution trail.

The project will begin in the spring and will continue over the course of the summer, according to Pat Gooch, junior planner for the Chautauqua County Planning and Economic Development Department. The trail could see completion by the end of September, he said.

"With the Portage Inn being demoed, the trail will provide direct access to the water for the town," he said.

In December, the Portage Inn building underwent demolition, erasing an eyesore that plagued the community for years. Don McCord, executive director for the Planning and Economic Development Department, said reclamation of the site was required as part of the demo.

"It tied in well because the Welch Trail and Barcelona to Chautauqua (Institution) Trail pass behind the site," he said.

The project came together with collaboration among town and village officials, Chautauqua County Land Bank and Westfield Development Corporation.

New York state awarded $200,000 for the project's construction in December. The total cost of the project, including the Portage Inn demo, is $594,750.

"It sounds like a great project and a great use of funds," said committee chair George Borrello, R-Irving.

Committee members carried a resolution to accept over $1 million in state funds to address six problematic tributary streams. Funds will be utilized to stabilize the creeks, reducing sediment and nutrient flows into Chautauqua Lake. The county is required under the grant program to commit 25 percent of the project's total cost.

The tributary projects awarded state funds include Dutch Hollow Creek, West Dutch Hollow Creek, Goose Creek, Ball Creek, Bemus Creek and Prendergast Creek.

Human Services Com-mittee members carried a resolution Wednesday to accept state funds to establish the Pfc. Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veterans Support Program. Through the program, servicemen and women meet with veterans in a secure, anonymous setting to cope with the effects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury. The grant was secured by state Sen. Cathy Young, R-C-I-Olean last year.

The $185,000 grant will connect veterans through a variety of social activities. Part of the program's approach is to develop a team of senior mentors to work with veterans suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injury.

Initially established in Suffolk County, the Dwyer Program is assisting the lives of veterans in over 10 counties across the state. Dwyer passed away from complications with PTSD in 2008 following his return from service in Iraq.



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