By Jann Wiswall

2013 has been a year marked by growth and many welcome improvements throughout the Ellicottville area.

Ski Resorts

Holiday Valley and HoliMont continued to reinvest in their resorts this year, as they do every year.

Holiday Valley’s improvements included tearing down the old day care building and replacing it with a new plaza next to the main lodge, replacing the tent at the cabana/pool area with a wood and glass enclosed structure, purchasing new grooming and snowmaking equipment, adding some new features to its wildly popular Sky High Adventure Park and refurbishing the Inn at Holiday Valley.

HoliMont, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last winter with a tremendously successful gala and many other activities, spent the summer making many behind-the-scenes operational improvements. In addition, the main chalet’s restrooms have been thoroughly remodeled, and a new log-cabin style warming cabin is now open at the top of the Cascade chairlift.

New Retail

The new Tim Hortons Ellicottville location opened in time for Fall Festival revelers. The Café and Bakery at the intersection of Routes 219 and 242 offers coffees, baked goods, sandwiches and salads and is open 24 hours.

In the village, EVL Cheese Company — “Sliced from the Cuba Cheese Shoppe” — has opened in the shopping center next to the Kwik Fill/Red Apple store. The shop carries more than 225 types of cheeses, salt rising bread, gourmet delicacies, kitchenware, local art and custom-order cheese trays.

For the fashion conscious, Flurry has opened at 12 Monroe St. The new boutique carries unique, casual-contemporary clothing and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else, and new items are introduced every Saturday throughout the year.

Construction is complete on the gorgeous expansion of everyone’s favorite brewery that now takes up nearly half of its block on Monroe Street in Ellicottville. Ellicottville Brewing Company’s renovations include a new, straight-from-Germany brew house that is in full operation, a state-of-the art kitchen, new dining and bar space and a lovely new beer garden.

More Housing Options

In addition to new and expanded retail ventures, Ellicottville is seeing a housing boom.

Infrastructure construction for the first phase of WestMont Ridge, the new development at HoliMont, is nearing completion. All the culvert, sewer and water systems are fully installed, and all of the earthwork for the roads is complete.

WestMont Ridge is the first phase of HoliMont’s $22 million expansion project, which ultimately will include 94 ski in/ski out residential properties and 72 condominiums near the Sunset slopes. Twenty-one of the first 31 lots have been sold. Interest in the last 10 properties and the condominiums is very strong. Sale of the luxury condominiums will begin in the spring, as will construction.

In the village, the old American Locker site at 12-16 Martha St. — right behind the Ellicottville Brewing Company — has been purchased. The new owners plan to construct two apartment buildings for seasonal rentals on the centrally located property.

Off Fillmore Street in the new Ellicottville Square complex on Bristol Lane, 15 new apartments have been completed for year-round and seasonal rentals. Most of the studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments with plenty of dedicated parking, onsite laundry and many other amenities are already leased! Call (716) 258-0613.

The first five of 38 new townhomes in Glen Burn Trail located at 6422 East Washington St. in the village next to the Ilex Inn are for sale, and work continues on the rest of the lovely new community. Interest is strong in the properties, which start at $250,000, and a new model home is now available for tours. Call (716) 983-4234.

Just up the street at 6394 East Washington St., buyers have been snapping up the 3,000-plus square foot luxury townhomes that form EllicottVillas. Townhomes with completed exteriors and build-to-suit interiors start at $179,000. Two completely finished and beautifully furnished, turnkey townhomes also are for sale. Call (716) 699-6600.

Ellicottville Central Schools Renovations

Residents of the Ellicottville Central School District voted last March to fund a capital renovation project of the school building. Renovations will address maintenance and health and safety/security issues, including partial roof replacement, electrical, masonry, and ventilation improvements, accessibility concerns, security improvements and more. In addition, plans call for reconfiguring and adding a 100’ x 50’ addition to the back of the existing gymnasium in order to create a unique, multi-purpose athletic and performance space. The final architectural and project plans were sent to the State Education Department on Nov. 1 for approval. Assuming all goes smoothly, construction will begin in summer 2014.

EVGV Trail Support Grows

Community support grows every day for the proposed Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail — a traffic-free route ultimately running from the intersection of Routes 219 and 242, past the Nannen Arboretum, through the village, HoliMont and Holiday Valley, and into the Town of Great Valley. Fundraising and grant writing continues.

Local Government

Municipal governments in the area have had a busy and productive year.

In August, Ellicottville’s town and village courts moved from the Village/Town Hall to the new Ellicottville Town Center building at Fillmore Drive and Parkside Road near the Village Park. The building was renovated this year by the Town of Ellicottville in order to provide handicap accessibility for the courts. The space also features a large, renovated auditorium space that is available for private parties, weddings, meetings and events — with direct access to the gorgeous, 8-acre Nannen Arboretum.

The Town of Ellicottville’s East Tank Project, which will provide better fire protection for residents and businesses, and improve water pressure throughout the service area, was delayed for a number of technical reasons this year, but the project is now in high gear. Final engineering designs are being prepared and bid requests will go out in the spring.

A Floodplain Remapping Study undertaken by the Village, the Town of Ellicottville, Ellicott Development and Sprague Development, began in 2012 to update floodplain maps originally drawn by FEMA. The new study, which was submitted to FEMA for its official review, documents that fewer properties lie in a floodplain. FEMA recently agreed with the study’s conclusions but said it does not have the funds to draw up new maps. Letters have been sent to both NY senators and Representative Tom Reed asking for their help in freeing up funds for the project.

A welcome improvement in the community will be the sidewalks that will be installed along Route 242 from HoliMont into the Village of Ellicottville by the State Department of Transportation (DOT). The project originally was proposed by HoliMont and Ellicottville Town and village leaders as far back as 2006. It was finally approved in 2013.

The sidewalk project, which includes drainage improvements, is one of three projects the DOT agreed to complete for Ellicottville. The second project is improvement of the Elizabeth/Fillmore/219 intersection and the third is rebuilding the handicap ramps and curbs at five intersections in the village along Washington Street. All three projects, which are scheduled for completion by summer 2014, will improve safety throughout the village and town for vehicle and pedestrian traffic alike.

The Village of Ellicottville made some changes to its water and sewer billing laws and fees this year, and installed new water meters at all business and residential addresses. The changes were made to help the village in its multi-year efforts to repair and improve the aging infrastructure of the system. The village also has been working to identify and repair water leaks in all 15,000 feet of pipes, resulting in noticeably better water pressure and significant reduction in water loss.

In the Town of Mansfield, a new Highway Department building was completed almost a year to the day after the original building and its contents, including seven vehicles, was destroyed by fire in October 2012. The new facility is a 60’x180’ pre-engineered metal building with offices, restrooms and a break room. Most vehicles have been replaced.

Mansfield also looks forward to welcoming WestMont Ridge property buyers and future residents to its community.