A Niagara County Legislature committee gave the go-ahead Monday to begin long-range planning for observing the county's 200th birthday in 2008.
The Community Services Committee passed resolutions authorizing Legislature Chairman William L. Ross, C-Wheatfield, to appoint a small steering committee to raise funds and plan events for the bicentennial. It also approved establishing a trust account to hold the donations.
Deputy County Clerk Wendy J. Roberson, who is spearheading the effort, said she envisions a committee of eight to 10 members, primarily from the private sector. She said she would like to see a panel "that is representative of many aspects of our community, so we can really plan something big."
Roberson also said she envisions a series of events and programs throughout 2008, not just one big birthday party. She said she would like various sectors of the county's economy to have themed observances.
"It's going to take us all of 2006 and 2007 to plan the events," she said. "I will probably, during the 2007 budget process, look for some seed money [from the county]."
Roberson emphasized that the entire county should take part. "We want to involve the whole county, not just Lockport," she said.
County Historian Christine Derby-Cuadrado and the various municipal historians already have started work on a bicentennial history of the county, Roberson said.
The State Legislature established Niagara County on March 11, 1808, by separating the area now constituting Niagara and Erie counties from Genesee County. Despite the name Niagara County, the county seat was in what is now Buffalo. On April 2, 1821, with the separation of Erie County, Niagara County acquired its current configuration.