By Colleen M. Farrell, Messenger Post, link to original post
The towns of Chili and Riga, along with the Village of Churchville, have been looking at implementing a trail system along Black Creek, which runs through all three municipalities. Earlier this year, the three communities received a grant from the Genesee Transportaton Council totaling a little over $60,000 to study the topic. The municipalities kicked in $6,000 amongst them and some in-kind services, according to Chili Supervisor David Dunning.
The study is researching the feasibility of building approximately 15-mile-long multi-use trail system parallel to the Black Creek stream and linking Black Creek Park, the Genesee Valley Greenway, and Churchville Park. Representatives from Bergmann Associates and Steinmetz Planning were retained to conduct the study.
The creation of a trail along Black Creek is an idea that has been bandied about for quite some time, Dunning said. He would like to make use of the “untapped resource” that is the park. “I thought, ‘What a great opportunity this would be if we could get a trail along this creek,'” he said.
The study is almost wrapped up, according to Dunning. A second public meeting was held last week. Previously, there was talk of the trail having to be installed on some private land. Residents strongly spoke out against it, he said.
“None of us are interested in exercising eminent domain or devaluing properties,” he said.
The latest recommendations include installing the trail along public properties and public right-of-ways and avoiding private property. Putting the trail on private property was a concern from some owners, Dunning said. The final recommendations will be revealed in the study, which he expects to be finalized early next year.
“They’ll give some recommendations, as well as some preliminary cost estimates based on what the cost might be today to put in a trail,” Dunning said. Estimates right now stand at $1 million per mile.
Dunning said he hopes to see the Black Creek trail become a reality for his town, which has a small trail in Union Station and another in Chili Nature Park. But the odds are not in his favor, he said.
“We lack trails and it’s something that I would really like to see here in the town but this particular trail is not going to happen the way we want.”
The obstruction, he said, is cost. Financially, it’s just not feasible.” If federal or state grant money starts to loosen up at some point we will stay on top of that,” he said, adding that a trail system could be built “piecemeal.”
He added that the study will yield a lot of useful information that will guide future planning for a trail.
“I’m disappointed – not in the consultant team, not in our steering committee – I’m just disappointed we have this remarkable resource in the town and we really can’t offer it to all the residents to enjoy because it really is just beautiful,” Dunning said. “So we can offer up portions of it, hopefully.”