By Jennie Acklin

The Ellicottville-Great Valley Trail Project will be applying for a 2014 Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant and is looking to the local community for letters of support.

The EVGV Trail Committee believes that Ellicottville and Great Valley needs a safe, accessible trail for walkers and bikers to connect the many destinations in our year-round resort community. The planned trail will offer an alternative travel mode, avoid peak-season parking congestion, and link the Ellicottville Central School to the Ellicottville Library, the Village Park, and the Ellicottville Town Center. This route will increase the transportation options local residents and visitors can use to include safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities that link all of the activity centers in the Ellicottville area.

“Our goal is to have hundreds of support letters,” said EVGV committee member Ken Hinman. “We have a sample letter that outlines the pertinent information required in the support letter (formatted for anyone to follow), and we will also be circulating a petition for supporters to sign. We will post that sample letter on the EVGV Trail’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/evltrail) if anyone is interested.”

If you do not have Internet access, printed sample letters of support, as well as the petition, are available for signing at the Town Clerk’s office.

Hinman asked that letters be submitted by May 1 to any of the EVGV Trail Committee members, to the Town of Ellicottville office or to the Village of Ellicottville office.

“We hope to secure a large grant to get this project started,” continued Hinman. “We have received several thousand individual donations over the past year and a half, which have allowed us to create a master plan for the trail, and pay for necessary planning and application expenses. Now we are ready to get some shovels in the dirt and get started.”

According to Kate O’Striker, also an EVGV Trail Committee member, “The DOT was extremely positive about the TEP application that we submitted last fall and it did get good reviews up through the chain. We are now working on a few items that needed to be changed to make it a stronger TAP application, which has a June 11, 2014, deadline date.”

The 2014 Transportation Alternatives Program provides funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvement activities and environmental mitigation; safe routes to school projects; and projects for planning, designing or constructing boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other divided highways.

Please remember we need those letters of support by May 1, 2014!

For more information about the EVGV Trail support letters or the project, please contact any of the EVGV Trail Committee members below:

Ken Hinman 716-474-8214

Kathleen Moriarty 716-699-2355

Kate O’Striker 716-699-2377 x122

Jane Eshbaugh 716-699-2345

Mark Alianello 716-699-4650

John Burrell 716-699-2100

Charlie Coolidge 716-699-4636

Jennie Acklin 716-699-4062, jennie@ellicottvilletimes.com