7-26-13-Image---LV-Public-PoolBy Jeff Martin

There are some big recreational secrets you may not know about in Little Valley.

Peggy Root, clerk/treasurer for the village, said it’s not uncommon that both residents and neighbors are unaware of the variety of offerings the village has.

“People are surprised,” Root said. “Some people don’t expect a lot from a little town.”

For example, the village has a large community pool that’s free every day from 12–7 p.m. Root said the village encourages everyone to attend with a village resident, but that’s not enforced.

“Residents pay for the service in a lot of ways,” she said, “so we’d like to encourage residents only, but we don’t turn anyone away.”

That goes for swimming lessons, too. The program, ranging from toddler to advanced, lasts eight weeks and is a mere $25. Again, Root stresses that only residents of Cattaraugus, Mansfield and Little Valley sign up, but no one is turned away.

The pool remains a popular attraction in the village. Handicapped accessible with a deep end (a rarity in most municipalities because of liability issues), people come from all over to use the pool, including a bus traveling from Ellicottville as part of that town’s recreation department.

The village also has a newly built basketball court located directly across from the public pool on 1st Street. T-ball (co-ed) for ages 4–8, and baseball (co-ed) and softball (girls) for ages 8–12 are also offered at low cost.

Aside from the pool, there is the free ice skating rink during the winter months. Located on Erie Street, people from all over can skate for free Monday through Friday 4–8 p.m. and 12–8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Donations have made available enough skates to fit all sizes. Beverages are served for free, too.

Another hidden gem in the village, Root said. Growing in popularity every year, the village’s youth soccer program may soon become its signature offering. Organized and coached by Myrna Reynolds, a former teacher, the program attracted 200 children in Little Valley alone last year.

The program returned after Reynolds picked up the program following the death of her husband.

“She really wanted to get it started again,” Root said. “And everything Myrna tries turns out great.”

Subsequently, the village nominated her for Volunteer of the Year through the New York State West Youth Soccer Association. She won deservedly.

Attracting students beyond Little Valley’s boarders, the program aims to teach children the basics of the popular sport, including the invaluable lesson of teamwork. During the warm months, children play at the American Legion field. There are challenges, however. In the near future, the American Legion may not be able to sustain and fund the field, prompting organizers to be on the lookout for a place to play.

In the winter, children, as many as 100 last season, practice and play in the old Little Valley school. And for the first time, a summer soccer camp was held.

“Myrna applied for a grant and got money to help fund it,” Root said. “She’s amazing and really believes in the program.”

For more information about these and other programs, call the Village of Little Valley at (716) 938-9151.