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Wheatfield board trims Greenway trail design cost

WHEATFIELD – The Wheatfield Town Board on Monday reduced the amount it intends to pay the town’s engineering firm for design of a Niagara River Greenway trail through the town.

The allocation was cut to $295,000, down from the $346,635 the board voted July 27 to pay to Wendel, the Amherst engineering firm.

Town Engineer Timothy J. Zuber said CSX Transportation forced a change in the route by refusing to allow the use of its railroad right-of-way. That forced the town to redesign the plan with two overpasses to take the trail over the railroad tracks.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said, “They didn’t even want the at-grade crossing at Witmer Road where there’s already a (traffic) light.” But he said CSX couldn’t prevent that.

The trail is to be grant funded. The committee controlling Greenway funds in Niagara County granted the town $70,000 last week, but Cliffe said, “We asked for $600,000.” The town also has a $1,136,000 federal Scenic Byways grant in hand. The Town Board also has voted to borrow $350,000 to pay up-front costs. Zuber said the project likely will have to be funded and built in stages. He said the total construction cost of the 12-foot-wide paved trail could range from $2 million to as much as $5 million.