The Olmsted Conservancy has officially announced the extension of a Greenway project that will further help to connect the Olmsted Park System to the Niagara River Greenway Trail. With the help of $1.2 million, secured through the NY Power Authority’s 50-year license agreement for operation of the Niagara Power Project, Scajaquada Trail proponents can now get to work cleaning up trash and removing invasive species. The money will provide Zone Gardeners with funds to clean and maintain the Jesse Kregal Pathway (see Jesse below). It will also provide the conservancy the ability to add new lighting features, benches and wayfinding signage. By hiring engineering and landscaping architects, proponents hope to come up with a sustainable plan that will benefit cyclists, pedestrians and the environment.
The ultimate goal of the project is to utilize the land along the creek in a way that would offer an eventual connection to Front Park via existing trails along the Black Rock Channel. The conservancy’s plan for the 21st Century calls for inter-connectivity within the Olmsted Park System. The creek and trail play an integral role in seeing that vision become reality. Thankfully, the WNY AmeriCorps members have teamed up with Zone Gardeners to help maintain the additional grounds. There is a one-year completion date set for what will eventually lead to the full restoration of the trail.
I asked Thomas Herrera-Mishler, President and CEO of The Conservancy, if he was privy to any information regarding the downgrading of the Scajaquada Expressway and he told me that the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was back on the table. Apparently the EIS was almost pulled! That said (my heart skipped a beat), Phase 1 of the downgrading of the expressway is scheduled for completion in 2013-14. Thomas is pushing for further phases to follow, in order to ensure that the project doesn’t lose momentum – Phase 1 should be considered the spark, not the fire.
There is still no word regarding efforts to clean up sources of pollutants that continue to contaminate the creek waters. The dedicated beautification of the creek trail can only be trumped by identifying and ultimately diverting all of its outlying pollution sources.