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TRAILS, PONDS AMONG PUBLIC'S FAVORITES FOR MAJORS PARK

A trail system, dog park, fishing ponds and picnic areas top the public's wish list so far for the Town of Aurora's largest park.

A community meeting held Wednesday on the 160-acre Majors Park drew nearly 100 residents who gave input on the first draft of a plan for the park bordered by Olean and Hubbard roads.

"Right across the board, I think people liked the trail," said Peter Trowbridge of Trowbridge & Wolf landscape architects, while he gave the Town Board an overview of the neighborhood meeting. "People loved the idea of 12-month trails."

A trail system beginning in the northern section of the park is envisioned with a loop trail and pedestrian bridge crossing Cazenovia Creek -- and the pedestrian trail continuing into the southern part of the park to Hubbard Road. The trails could be used for hiking, and the park could also lend itself to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Trowbridge & Wolf, hired by the town to develop a master plan for the park, plans to draft a more detailed proposal focusing on short-term plans and a long-term vision for the park.

The northern section would be the first phase, with the southern portion slated for subsequent phases. More plans are expected in another eight weeks, with another public meeting expected to follow.

"We need to make it reality and do a wetlands delineation," Trowbridge told the board. "We need to really draw a line in the sand and get serious about it. You do need to get more serious about the trails."

The town acquired the park land in 1999, with 40 acres of it donated by Kenneth Majors. To date, it has remained largely unused.

Some residents indicated they'd like a new name for the park, but Councilman Norman Suttell said the town had promised it would be known as Majors Park.

A key component that the landscape architects and town will study further is the Community Gardens, which controls four acres of what's viewed as some of the most desirable land in the park that is least affected by wetlands.

Several residents also asked the town to consider an off-leash fenced dog park as part of the park land. "We shouldn't have been surprised. I know other communities have concerns about off-leash areas in parks," Trowbridge said. Earlier this year, Aurora enacted a leash law.

There was little or no interest in an open-air, hillside amphitheater. And a proposal to have new tennis courts at the park also fell flat, with many preferring that the town/village's existing courts be refurbished.

But many residents did like the plan for fishing ponds, Trowbridge said.

Others were concerned that the Hubbard hunting cabin not fall into a state of disrepair and be preserved. Councilman Jeff Harris, who has done some work on the cabin, said it would be ideal for a trail head and to serve as a base for conducting nature studies.

Overall, residents were not completely opposed to recreation fields for soccer or baseball, but they wanted assurances that their yards would remain private.

e-mail: krobinson@buffnews.com

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