Several more miles of the local waterfront will soon be open for the public to enjoy. Plans are moving forward for a riverfront pedestrian trail on Grand Island.
"It's for joggers, bikers, strollers. Anybody who wants to enjoy the river," said Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray. Work on the $2.8 million project will begin in the spring. It involves converting West River Parkway - an existing state owned seasonal road - into the West River Connector Trail. McMurray said it's part the Greenway Commission's plan to connect Buffalo to Niagara Falls.
"I think when any type of project like this, anywhere in the country, there's always like people like, 'well why do we want to do this? But, I mean, one of the things I'm proud of is we worked with the state. We did our best. We made sure we got the full public comment, not just people who are angry, but the full public comment. And we didn't let this project fade away. I think in Western New York, too often, we let these type of opportunities slip out of our fingers. And then we look back 20-years from now and say, 'why'd we do that? This is something we're doing the right way," McMurray said.
Residents across the region, he said, may not realize how beautiful the West River of Grand Island is. The new 8-mile trail will connect Buckhorn Island State Park with Beaver Island State Park. He said the project makes sense for so many reasons.
"It's part of this Buffalo-Western New York renaissance. And we have an asset that so many communities would die for. And to allow more people to have access to that, in ways that are for health and wellness, it's something that's incredible," McMurray said.
Work on the trail is expected to be complete in 2018.