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Town restricts greenway development

Town officials took formal steps Wednesday to restrict the development of a riverfront path that is planned to pass through the town along River Road.

By a unanimous vote, the Town Board agreed to oppose the acquisition of any private property by eminent domain for the Niagara River Greenway project.

The project includes the creation of a walking trail from Buffalo to Youngstown. Wheatfield is the only community that has no municipal access to the riverfront.

The measure was made in support of River Road residents who said they fear the Greenway Commission would take their property to complete the plan. Commission representatives stated at previous public meetings here that they would honor an official resolution by the board.

Instead, officials recommended that the commission investigate running the path on the north side of the road along property that includes a railroad right of way. The resolution would oppose forced acquisition on either side of the road.

Supervisor Timothy E. Demler noted that any plans by the state to use eminent-domain proceedings would be "short-circuited" by the efforts of the town to "co-develop" the project plan in Wheatfield.

Another motion requested that the commission assist with the funding of a riverfront park project at the intersection of Williams and River roads.

The park would require the purchase of about 15 acres along the river for possible inclusion in the greenway project. The town had looked into developing the park a few years ago, but the cost was too high.

Councilman Larry Helwig said a brownfield development grant to secure a good part of the cost of developing the park had been secured during the original plan.

In other business, the board:

* Approved participation of supervisors and officials in the implementation of the National Incident Management System, a multimunicipal plan to handle emergencies and disasters. As part of the plan, town management representatives as well as those from area volunteer fire companies would have to take part in two or three training courses, according to Town Attorney Robert O'Toole.

* If the town did not comply with the plan, it would not be eligible for future federal disaster funding, he said.

* Reduced the speed limits from 35 mph, to 30 mph, on a number of area roads at the request of residents. The roads are Pine Lake Drive and those in the subdivisions of Trails End, Wild Wing and Wheatfield Heights.

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