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'BIKE/HIKE' TRAIL CONCEPT TO BE PRESENTED MONDAY

Evans residents will get their first look at proposals for a "bike/hike" trail along the town's 10.6 miles of lakeshore in a presentation Monday night.

Town officials and consultants from Wendel Duchscherer Architects & Engineers will present the preferred routing for the pathway, along with other alternatives.

The meeting follows four information-gathering sessions in communities along the lake during the summer.

"When we had the design workshops, we came to the residents with our boards clean and our arms wide open," said Robert Blood of Wendel Duchscherer. "Now we're prepared to say, 'This is where we think it should go, what we feel the preferred routing should be.' It's a preliminary concept."

Officials are encouraging residents to offer their reactions to the preliminary concept and help shape the final one.

"This is not going to be the plan," said Evans Planning Director Sandy Brant. "It's an effort to bring to the people what we gleaned off previous meetings and get their feelings about this."

The goal is to create a multiuse pathway that can be used by bicyclists, in-line skaters, runners and walkers, and connect the town's waterfront parks, beaches, historic sites, shopping districts, residential communities and architectural landmarks such as Graycliff, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed estate.

The plan also calls for a 1 1/2 -mile spur into the Village of Angola. The path would run from the Hamburg town line at Eighteen Mile Creek to Evangola State Park in the southwest corner of the town. Evangola is already planning its own bike/hike trails and has completed some.

"Things start in Buffalo and they seem to stay there," Brant said.

"What will be very nice about this path is this is going to link to Buffalo to the Riverwalk area through the Town of Hamburg.

"And the spur up into Village of Angola is very important to us. Hopefully, it will lend them help in their revitalization efforts, linking our waterfront -- the jewel of our community -- to Angola."

The planning effort is being paid for with $45,000 in Erie County money, but funding is one of the challenges faced by the project. Blood said that no cost estimates have been developed yet.

The Town Board voted Wednesday night to pay Wendel Duchscherer $1,400 to prepare applications for the federal TEA-21 Transportation Enhancement grants, but Brant said money may be more difficult to come by now.

"There is money available, but since the tragedy of 9-11, funding may not be as liquid as we thought when we went into it," she said.

"Hopefully these things will happen, but it's going to take time and money, and it's up to us to figure out the best way to do it and fund it."

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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