Orchard Park residents who have been complaining about the state of the town's 1.3-mile Chestnut Ridge Trail in recent years have gotten a $100,000 answer.
That's the size of the grant the town has received from New York State. It was announced on the last working day of the administration of Gov. George E. Pataki, and is the lone Erie County grant among $2.3 million in trail development funding.
"Given access to the funds, it will probably be up to comparison with the Birdsong trails," said Councilman David Kaczor, referring to the town's recently opened set of trails through the Birdsong nature preserve.
The current trail has suffered from its wood chips deteriorating into mud and brush encroaching on the paths.
The grant will allow the path to be redone, with crushed rock going into some areas and wooden bridges over others. The plans call for 6,375 linear feet of crushed limestone and 400 feet of wooden boardwalk.
The trail passes three ponds as it extends from its Acorn Circle start, touching Ashwood Lane, Lawrence Woods, Arrowood Lane and Breezewood Lane.
"This will be making it more usable," said Orchard Park Engineer Wayne Bieler. "Some of the areas are quite wet, and it's become quite muddy with all of the foot traffic."
Kaczor said the project and the grant are part of a coordinated effort on the town's part. The pursuit of the grants takes substantial time from town employees, even though Orchard Park employs a grant consultant.
"We don't just randomly apply for grants, because we know when we apply for a grant and it is approved, we have to worry about future maintenance on the project," he said. "But this all ties into our general plan for trying to tie together the different trails within Orchard Park, so people can go throughout the entire community with different kinds of trailways."