By Jann Wiswall

Ellicottville is known as a community that bounces back. That’s because savvy business owners and investors know that what’s working in Ellicottville is stronger than one relatively snow-less season. This is a community that has been working to draw people to visit – and live here – year-round. So it’s no surprise to see a growth and investment boom this year – just like last year.

Business Growth

The most visible sign of growth is in the Village, where two new businesses opened just in the past couple of weeks.

Monroe Street Brick & Brew, a new brick-oven, gourmet pizza restaurant, held its grand opening last weekend. The restaurant offers dine-in, carry out and delivery within a three-mile radius.

On Washington Street, The Gin Mill opened a name-sake “Mercantile” shop next door to the popular dining and nightlife hot spot. It offers logo merchandise as well as gifts, fresh baked treats and more.

There are some other new and expanding businesses coming soon. We’ll tell you all about them as soon as we’re allowed!

New Construction

The two new housing development projects along Fillmore Street in the village are progressing nicely and offers are already coming in. Another new development, Trail Heights (off Poverty Hill Road), broke ground for infrastructure just days after town planning board approval.

Holiday Valley opened its new headquarters for Holiday Valley Realty and Rental Management at the convenient corner of Rt. 219 and Holiday Valley Road (across from the Inn). The resort is also investing a cool million bucks this year on equipment and facility improvements, including new automated snow guns, golf carts and maintenance equipment, utility improvements and more.

Ellicottville Central School

The top ranked Ellicottville Central School District graduated 51 students on June 24, 2016. It was the first graduation to take place in the brand new multi-purpose gymnasium/auditorium that was completed this year.

In the spring, the school district applied for and was awarded $343,647 in NYS “Smart Schools Bonds” which allowed the school to invest in new technology, including 43 ClearTouch Interactive Boards for every instructional classroom, as well as essential security upgrades, including new cameras, a server and software. The new technology will be ready for students in September.

And in May, district voters elected board president Carl Calarco to another five-year term on the board, and Robert Van Wicklin to a three-year term.

Municipal Projects

Both the town and village of Ellicottville have been busy this spring, as new projects have been approved and old projects near completion. Both also have been working together to conserve and share resources for projects of importance to both communities, including sharing the cost of a new tablet computer for the sewer department and contributing to the restoration of the Village Park’s tennis and basketball courts.

Construction of the Village’s new wastewater treatment plant is almost finished. This state-of-the-art facility is not only more efficient, but it was designed to be able to handle decades of new development in the village and in the town.

During peak construction season, of course, road crews at every municipal level are in the midst of repairs and improvements.

In the town of Ellicottville, newly appointed highway superintendent Tom Scharf and the highway department staff are working hard to complete a long list of fair-weather projects. Scharf is also in the midst of training to use the Cornell Asset Management Program, a multi-faceted computer program that will be used to inventory all Ellicottville roads and weigh various factors to determine repair priorities.

In the village, Mayor John Burrell and the Department of Public Works found a way to create a dozen new public parking spots on Martha Street.

WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway Dedicated

A 37-mile stretch of highway looping from the Erie/Cattaraugus County border and back has been dedicated as the newest section of the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway. This new section runs along portions of routes 219, 240 and 242 in the towns of Ashford and Ellicottville and the Village of Ellicottville. Designation as a scenic byway prohibits erection of new billboards and allows a Byway committee to place markers at certain locations to allow travelers to stop and learn more about historical, natural or cultural characteristics.

EVGV Trail

Efforts to build a recreational trail linking Ellicottville and Great Valley continue. The committee has re-applied for a $1.8 million New York State DOT Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to fund the first leg of a 15-mile network of multi-use trails.

Until major funding is secured, the trail committee is preparing for a major fundraising drive and they’re finding creative ways to make things happen through partnerships with local municipalities (notably the town and village of Ellicottville), local developers and students at the Ellicottville BOCES whose instructor, Terry Fuller, volunteered his class to saw the timbers to be used for the trailhead structure. Next year’s class will start construction in September.

Traffic Advisory

Travelers should be aware of a year-long detour on Rt. 219 at the Erie/Cattaraugus County border. The old Rt. 219 Bridge was literally and spectacularly blown up in June. The detour carries local Rt. 219/Springville traffic between Miller Road and South Cascade Drive via new lanes on the 219 expressway. Expressway drivers merge into one lane each way for a short stretch before the expressway ends at Peters Road. Watch for new crossovers, exits, ramps and signs.