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Williamsville's South Long area to be focus of walk Saturday

The Village of Williamsville's South Long neighborhood has the village Department of Public Works building, a park and railroad museum, and a former railroad line that cuts through diagonally and is now a bike path.

But change is coming.

The former Herbert F. Darling Inc. construction complex on California Drive was sold and Natale Development plans to build 30 townhouses and 112 apartments on the five acres south of Main Street.

The plan has prompted concerns about traffic and congestion in the neighborhood of mostly single-family homes.

So residents are invited to tour the South Long area on Saturday with Mayor Brian J. Kulpa, village trustees, neighbors and others, including representatives of Natale and landscape architect Joy Kuebler, as they plan for the future.

"We're going to do a planning exercise that really takes us through this whole area and ask the question, 'What do we want?'" Kulpa said.

South Long Street is also targeted for a $1.5 million makeover to include “green” infrastructure and streetscape improvements such as better stormwater management to support new development in the southwest corner of the village. Construction of the South Long Community Project is expected to begin this year.

The walk will begin at 10 a.m. at the Department of Public Works building on Village Square Lane and will conclude at the Williamsville Lehigh Valley Depot, where refreshments will be served by the Western New York Railway Historical Society.

Kulpa said officials are trying to be "proactive" about transitioning the industrial part of the village into one that is more residential.

"We're going to set up a plan for this area," Kulpa said. "Let's figure out how it should look -- what it should look like."

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