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Springville Board decides to discuss design, development

CALLING ALL KIDS — On June 14 and 15, volunteers worked together, to erect a new playground at the Springville Youth Inc. community pool. Pictured is the final product, which now welcomes children to enjoy. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — The Village of Springville Board of Trustees took another step toward economic development and design, during its June 17 meeting. The board approved the Village Center Economic Development & Improvement Plan which, according to Springville Mayor William Krebs, is “not a detailed, comprehensive plan. The name is what it will eventually be, when it’s fleshed out.”

The plan, which came about as a result of a meeting with grant writers, Village Administrator Tim Horner and Krebs, is a multi-faceted plan that includes updating the master plan, landscaping, streetscaping, economic improvements, the rails to trails program, street designs, increasing walkability in the village center, the ongoing New York Main Street Grants program and more.

“We’re looking for the board’s approval, so we can start negotiating contracts,” Krebs explained. “Each of these items could be a plan, by itself. Some have a plan already in place, like the traffic plan. This is a blueprint or a snapshot of a lot of different initiatives.”

Krebs noted that the proposal includes working with the Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail Committee, to move forward on the rails to trails program, in conjunction with the Pop Warner Rail Trail Steering Committee. That group, which Krebs said the village endorses, is working on turning the former Buffalo Pittsburgh railroad tracks, which run through the west end of the village, into a recreational trail area.

“Railbanking must go forward. We don’t know how fast that’s going to chug along, but Springville is held hostage,” Krebs said. “We can’t move forward, developing our west end, unless those initiatives are cemented, somehow.”

The mayor added that this proposal is not a master plan, which takes three years to complete. The village already has a master plan in place, which needs to be updated, as part of the economic development and improvement plan.

“What needs to happen is, we need to get stakeholders involved,” Krebs said. “[That includes] business owners, the chamber and input from residents, as well as global support, from other levels of government.”

The board agreed to move forward with the plan.

Two members of the Zoar Valley Paddle Club had approached Krebs about instituting a whitewater park at the Springville Dam. This would consist of a series of ripple dams, similar to the drop structure on Franklin Street.

“It allows kayakers to play in the hydraulics. The videos are remarkable. It’s like a water sledding hill,” Krebs explained.

The whitewater park would not interfere with fish habitats that the Army Corps of Engineers wants to construct in that area, and would “enhance recreational use” of that area, according to Krebs.

Although the property is owned by Erie County and therefore out of the board’s jurisdiction, the trustees authorized Krebs to send a letter to a number of government entities, in support of the project.

Each of the trustees received a copy of the updated village employee handbook, for review.

“We have had several handbooks, over the last 20 years,” Horner explained. “As laws change, policies get added, and, for a long time, the union didn’t feel they had to follow the handbook. During our last union negotiations, we added language that they agreed to honor. We went back through and made sure that all the policies were the same [as those the union already had in place].”

Horner said that most of those policies were the same, except for some differences in bereavement leave. The administrator asked that trustees look over the handbook, for inconsistencies or incorrect information, and send him any changes, in writing, by July 5.

The village received a letter informing the community that Erie County plans to rehabilitate and replace four bridges on Route 39, between Springville and Sardinia, at a cost of $5.5 million.

“These bridges are outside our jurisdiction, but they wanted the local municipality to have a copy,” Krebs said. “It’s nice to know that transportation infrastructure money is coming down, to this part of the county.”

In other board matters:
– Superintendent of Public Works Karl Lux requested that he, Thomas Matern and Horner be authorized to attend the Municipal Electric Utilities Association’s annual conference in Ellicottville, the week of Aug. 18.

He also requested that he be designated as a delegate to that meeting, a position he has held since 1992. Both motions were approved.

– Trustee Nils Wikman thanked all residents who helped with the Springville Youth Inc. community playground build.

“We had a lot of expertise, to help out with any issues we encountered. Now, after three years of planning and development, this is a significant addition to our village center that will be there, for decades to come,” Wikman said.

“Thanks to everybody who came out, from trustees, to secretaries, to business owners and tons of kids. We couldn’t survive in this community without that support.”

The next Springville Village Board of Trustees meeting will take place on July 15 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

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