The Niagara River Greenway Commission deemed three of the five projects on last week’s agenda consistent with the Greenway goal of creating a belt of parkland along the river.
Nonetheless, the two projects rated inconsistent with the goals still may obtain Greenway funds from the Host Communities Standing Committee, which controls Greenway funds in Niagara County and has a consistent record of giving money to projects the commission dislikes.
Even the projects considered consistent with Greenway goals must find money from a standing committee or through foundations and other grant and endowment sources.
The projects that met with approval last week included the Buffalo Audubon Society plan for a Niagara River birding trail site and bird habitat enhancements at Buckhorn Island State Park on Grand Island and the North Tonawanda Audubon Preserve in the Klydel Wetlands.
The Historical Society of the Tonawandas got a thumbs-up for its Niagara River and Erie Canal signage expansion project.
The Town of Lewiston received a positive vote for its Pletcher Road Park restoration proposal.
The Audubon Society’s $280,000 project calls for developing habitat restoration plans for the Grand Island and North Tonawanda sites, in hopes of creating a Niagara River birding trail that could become “a global birding destination,” as the application put it.
Restoration would involve removal of several invasive plant species at Buckhorn Island, including the European black alder tree, which likes marshy soil, and several other shrubs and weeds.
The $63,000 river and canal sign plan calls for installing 22 new signs at noteworthy sites on public land in the cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda. Fourteen of the signs would be in North Tonawanda and eight in Tonawanda.
The $41,000 Pletcher Road project in Lewiston involves the construction of a concession area within an existing building at the town park, less than 600 feet from the river.
The committee voted against two other park restorations projects farther inland in Lewiston, at Sanborn and Colonial Village.
Sanborn Park, on Elm Street in that village in the southeast corner of Lewiston, is adjacent to the Sanborn Fire Company hall. Town officials want to remove old and unsafe playground equipment and replace it with “a toddler-friendly, age-specific playground.”
Also, an asphalt basketball court, new tables and benches and a walking path are part of the $43,500 request.
Colonial Village is another park next to a fire hall: Lewiston Fire Company No. 2, on Route 31. The plan there includes a new metal-roofed picnic shelter, another toddler-friendly playground and removal of Austrian pine trees that have been hit with a fungal infection. They would be replaced with a wider variety of tree species, while the surviving pines will be treated in hopes of saving them permanently. The price tag for the work is $41,000.