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Committee asks for more data on cost estimates for NCCC trail

By Thomas J. ProhaskaNEWS NIAGARA REPORTERLOCKPORT -- County legislators said Monday that Niagara County Community College needs to firm up cost estimates and provide assurances that state aid will be provided before it can count on Niagara River Greenway funding for a recreational trail.

The Greenway Commission ruled last week that the $1.2 million project is not compatible with the goals of the Greenway, but that's far from the last word.

In Niagara County, the Greenway purse strings are controlled by the Host Communities Standing Committee, comprising leaders of the County Legislature and western Niagara County municipalities and school districts.

The Legislature also has a Greenway committee to make recommendations on sponsoring projects, led by Legislator Michael A. Hill, R-Hartland.

Hill said neither the NCCC trail nor requests presented Monday by the Historic Palace Theatre in Lockport and the Town of Hartland will be ready for action at the next Host Communities meeting Feb. 7.

Hill said his panel is supposed to make sponsorship recommendations within 30 days, but he won't start the clock on the trail until NCCC President James P. Klyczek reports back.

The project is a 10-foot-wide, 3-mile loop around the Sanborn campus. It's supposed to be built in four phases.

The college is asking for $343,265 in Greenway funding for the first phase, near the college's housing units. Klyczek said that phase is the most expensive because a small wetland needs to be crossed.

He's counting on matching funds from the State University of New York system to pay for the second phase, which takes the trail to Route 31, where it would link up with Sanborn sidewalks.

The Historic Palace Theater asked for $151,697 toward a project that includes exterior wall and window repairs and a new marquee for the 87-year-old theater.

The Town of Hartland sought $437,000 for improvements to its town park, including lights for a ball diamond, a recreational trail, a new pavilion, a basketball court and a roller rink.