The Ellicottville Village Board voted, 3-1, against a snowmobile club's request to support a grant application for $70,000 in state and federal funding to purchase a trail groomer.
The request from Snow Bounders, a not-for-profit recreational sledding club based in Little Valley, received favorable responses from many other municipalities along the 150 miles of snowmobile trails maintained and insured by Snow Bounders, other clubs and by the Cattaraugus County Federation of Snowmobiles.
A letter sent Oct. 26 by Snow Bounders secretary Sheri L. Webster said the equipment is necessary to create a unified, well-groomed trail for the growing volume of sled traffic. The letter described the county's trail system as providing connections to a larger statewide trail network for riders who are seeking attractive and comfortable access to desired locations. Also, the letter pointed to a Nov. 12 deadline for the support letter and other supportive documentation for local trails development.
In January, the Village Board ended its snowmobile ban in the village and granted the federation's request for a 500-foot access from a railroad right of way to a Kwik Fill convenience store and parking lot in the Fitpatrick & Weller lumberyard.
But board members -- wary of another winter of complaints about noise, trespassing, straying outside a designated trail boundary and snowmobiles traveling on sidewalks -- delivered strict instructions that the arrangement was to be monitored for illegal travel outside the designated area.
Trustee Patra Lowes suggested tabling the request so local police officers could provide information about the success of last winter's arrangement. Trustee Bob Brogcinski then told board members a sign had been posted on the Kwik Fill property last winter stating the snowmobile traffic was not welcome.
"It worked out fairly well last year," said Mayor Charlie Coolidge, who also said the access trail would have to be closed after a planned four-story hotel is built where snowmobiles had been directed to park in the lumberyard.
"There's no reason to come if there's no place to get gas," said Brogcinski, who then made a motion to deny the request because the board's support is needed by Friday.
Trustee Douglas J. Ferren cast the only vote in support of the resolution.
Snow Bounders has received endorsements from many other municipalities, including the Ellicottville Town Board.
Snow Bounders promised to contribute $14,000 in club funds toward the cost of the grooming machine, according to the county Planning Board's written summary of the grant application. Webster could not be reached to comment Monday night.