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Scenic Byway expanding to Cattaraugus County

CATTARAUGUS CO.—The Western New York Southtown Scenic Byway might be expanding in the next year, according to WNYSSB president Bob Lennartz. In conjunction with the Cattaraugus County Legislature, Erie County, the towns of Ellicottville, Ashford and Concord and the villages of Springville and Ellicottville have approved the New York State Department of Transportation’s Byway Support resolution to expand the Byway into Cattaraugus County.

The expansions plan extends the WNYSSB through Ellicottville to the Great Valley town line and to the intersection of N.Y. State Route 242 and U.S. Route 219.

The Byway will continue south down Route 219, from its intersection with N.Y. Route 39, through Ellicottville, ending at the Great Valley town line. The second part of the plan will expand the Byway south on Route 240, at the Route 39 intersection, to Route 242 all the way until the intersection with Route 219.

Lennartz explained phase two of the project will include the completion of a Corridor Management Plan Appendix which provides a detailed description of the route.

“[The CMPA] highlights the historical, cultural, tourist draws and scenic resources,” he said. “It explains why a traveler would want to traverse these routes.”

The process, however, is no short one, Lennartz said. Once the CMPA is completed, it must be submitted to the NYSDOT Scenic Byway for review, before a presentation is given to the State Scenic Byway Board which gives the go-ahead for the State Legislature to pass a bill to add the routes to the Byway.

“To get a highway designated as a scenic byway, it has to be approved by the state,” Lennartz said. “I’ll go to Albany to make a presentation to the State Scenic Byway Board.”

Lennartz said it’s important to add Ellicottville and Ashford to the WNYSSB so everyone can enjoy two great towns.

“Number one, it helps us publicize the downtown areas, like we did in Springville,” he said. “It helps highlight what the community has to offer, brings people to these communities and hopefully gets them to spend some money.”

The WNYSSB previously received a grant to place 14 interpretive signs along the Byway that outline what the village has to offer.

“We’re trying to let people know the good things that are in these villages,” Lennartz said.

Lennartz said he hopes to get a bill passed by the State Legislature by Christmas of this year.

The WNYSSB’s mission statement states they promote economic development and community pride through the thoughtful stewardship of the natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreation resources of the Byway region.

“It’s a marketing program,” Lennartz said.

Earlier this year, the WNYSSB was awarded the 2014 Beacon award for Tourism Initiative of the Year by Visit Buffalo Niagara.

For more information on the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway, visit their website at WNYSSB.org.
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