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Despite rising costs, Lancaster’s West Main streetscape project a priority

Lancaster’s West Main streetscape project is getting more expensive, but the village is keeping it alive.

The streetscape project planned for Lancaster’s West Main Street this summer has a much higher price tag than village officials originally expected.

Antique street lighting, park benches, stamped decorative concrete sidewalks and new curbing are still part of the project, village officials say.

But the cost has grown from $200,000 to $280,934.

Village leaders refused to lose sight of their plans to complete the streetscape improvements – even if it meant paring other expenses and making other budget adjustments.

“Come hell or high water, it’s going to get done,” Deputy Mayor Kenneth O’Brien III said. “We think if we can complete the streetscape project, it will bring more business and people into the community. This has got to be done.”

Others agreed and the Village Board recently adopted the revised scope of the project, which should begin in August after the village’s Independence Day celebration and Taste of Lancaster.

The bulk of the project fund- ing comes from a $100,000 state grant obtained with help from state Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma, while the town’s Industrial Development Agency is footing another $100,000.

To handle the $80,000 shortfall, the village decided to buy one new snowplow instead of the two it was planning on.

In addition, the village is pulling back on how far it runs the enhanced electrical service and power supply for the project area – instead planning on doing it only on the existing portion of West Main – but not extending electrical service to Aurora Street that was factored into the original plans to account for expected growth in the business district as West Main is possibly extended over time..

“This is a priority project for 2016,” said village Public Works Superintendent William G. Cansdale. “This is too important of a project to let it die.”

If the village had not found a way to cover the costs, government leaders risked criticism ebcause the village two years ago returned $345,000 to Erie County when it postponed a decision to extend the street to Aurora Street.

“We’re going to push forward with it,” Trustee William C. Schroeder said. “The board felt it would be money well spent.”

The streetscape improvements are expected to complement the 2003 Central Avenue redo, and also come as three properties in the area make façade improvements through the New York Main Street Program designed to help stimulate investment in properties to help strengthen economic vitality in Main Street areas and neighborhoods.