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Springville Village Board discusses streetscaping in business district

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville Village Board of Trustees will send a proposal for the Community Development Block Grant to that committee, following a public hearing conducted at its Oct. 15 board meeting.

The project, a water main replacement on Smith Street, is a $293,000 project, with $100,000 of that being aidable by the CDBG consortium.

Justin Broomfield, a Boy Scout from Troop 643, spoke to the board about his proposed Eagle project: a flower bed encircling the flagpole at Shuttleworth Park. The Scout proposed planting a raised bed around the flagpole, outlined by landscape bricks, with an inside ring to allow access to electrical components located at the base of the flag. Broomfield said he planned to seek funding from the local VFW and American Legion organizations.

Mayor William Krebs asked the Scout to work with Superintendent Karl Lux in implementing the project, as well as the landscape architect, to discuss the master plan for the park and the rest of the village’s streetscape.

“It is also important to work with the VFW,” Krebs added. “That park is very important to the veterans and very important to the village.”

Krebs noted that, since the village is working on designing a holistic streetscape that would link all the parks within its borders, he suggested the Scout speak to the landscape architect, in order to ensure the project would “conform aesthetically to the pocket park and Fiddlers Green, instead of just a stand-alone project.”

After determining that the park was not located within the historic preservation district and would therefore not require consulting that board, Springville approved Broomfield’s moving forward on the project.

Lux recommended the hiring of three individuals, Anthony Spencer, Benjamin Jackson and Chase Jackson, to work as linemen with the electrical department. He reported that all three have experience with private contractors and are graduates of a linemen school.

The Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Environmental Conservation and Trout Unlimited have been working with the department of public works to find a grant to refurbish Spring Creek, reduce bank erosion and provide housing for the river trout that live in that body of water.

“They seem to think we will get the money,” Lux said, about the grant, which would be a 75 percent grant for a $40,000 project. “It’s about 500 feet of restoration,” he noted. “These [organizations] said this is the premier river trout stream in Erie County.”

Fire Chief Dennis Dains updated the board on his department’s activity during the past month, which included assistance with the Concord Bicentennial mile race, held on Oct. 7, in the village.

“I would like to put my cell phone number on the application [that organizations fill out asking for assistance], so we could sit and talk about it,” Dains said. Although the village blocked off the street from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Dains said that the runners did not begin until shortly before noon and that residents were “irate” about the blockage.

“I think there would be a way to coordinate it better. We’re available to do it, but it’s a lot of time and pressure to the community,” Dains said. “It may help to have more lead time.”

Krebs noted that many applications for road closures do not arrive a month ahead of the event, as the board requested.

“We’ve got to get the word out to these organizations ahead of time and plan more properly,” said Board Member Gerald Lohrey.

Code Enforcement Officer Michael Kaleta said that the board should consider the rest of the community that is affected by road closures.

“We’ve got businesses along these routes,” he said. “It’s not just about the non-profit organizations [that requested road closure].There are other things being affected: people who can’t get to their houses; cars that can’t get out of driveways.

“If emergency vehicles, for some reason, needed to get through, they wouldn’t be able to. Some stuff needs to be looked at.”

Dains also said that the new radio from Erie County has been installed at the control center, but that Dains does not want to remove the old radio until the new one is working properly.

“I’m ready to go back to the old radio,” he said. “This was a major expense for Erie County, with 17 fire and [emergency medical services] agencies’ participating. It was a two-year project with $670,000 in federal grants, and the system is not working yet. The transmitting and receiving is terrible.”

He noted that the county told him that installing more transmission towers might solve the problem and that he had relayed the problems to the county.

“We’ve been working on this for the past 6 months,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes.”

Reporting back from several conversations with city planners, landscape architects, grant writers and others in the field, Krebs said that he is “really optimistic” about Springville’s streetscape potential.

“I think we are headed in the right direction and taking positive steps,” Krebs said.

He noted that, on the recommendation of Village Administrator Tim Horner, he walked around the village with a landscape architect and discussed a master plan for the streetscaping of the village’s Main Street, from Burger King to Pearl Street.

He said that Springville could qualify as a “trail town” by using its proximity to the Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail to boost economic viability with tourism.

“Step one is to improve the streetscape; step two is to link the business district to the trailhead in the west end of the village and step three is to develop the trail for tourism,” Krebs said.

He noted that Springville is in “really good shape in terms of walkability, thanks to the CDBG grants for sidewalks,” including handicap accessibility.

Krebs suggested making small, practical changes to the village’s streetscape, such as extending the flowers the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce plants along Main Street toward Cascade, so that “we look like a village where there is higher traffic.

“We could have a conversation about Christmas lights on the 12 trees during the season,” Krebs said. “It’s relatively inexpensive, would look nice and would be a good thing to do now. We wouldn’t have to wait for aid.”

In related news, Krebs said that the Erie-Cattaraugus Rail Trail voted to begin to directly negotiate with the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad Company, to assume responsibility for railbanking the abandoned rail bed.

“The parks system has said they are not interested and are stepping aside. It’s done that way, in other parts of the country,” Krebs explained.

“We’re still asking for permanent rights of entry to manage [the Springville portion of the trail]. We need that. Right now, we’re being held hostage. It’ll be a big asset to the village. This progress is a result of the infrastructure we have in place, already.”

In other board news:

– The board approved a Halloween night curfew for Oct. 31, to be set at 7 p.m. for the Main Street business district and parks and 9 p.m. for the rest of the village.

– The winter parking ban will be in effect from Nov. 10 – April 1. Under that ban, a local law, no street parking will be allowed on East and West Main streets and North and Franklin streets, between the hours of 3:30 and 7 a.m. There will be no parking for 24 hours at a time, in any one spot.

– Richard VanOver’s resignation from the historic preservation commission was accepted.

– The hiring of Ernest Ruper for the control center was approved.

The next village board meeting will take place on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

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