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OP board votes in opposition of ECRT

Posted at 7:53 AM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 07:53:53-04

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — This stretch of old railway running from Orchard Park to Cattaraugus County, known as the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Railway, is set to make the change from rail to trail. It's called the Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail or ECRT

A portion of the trail is already open in Orchard Park. It runs from Jewitt Hollow Road to Ellicott Road.

Wednesday night the Orchard Park Town Board voted on a resolution of opposition to the trail system. The town supervisor says he wants more information from ECRT before they give any trail expansion their blessing.

“I thought we had a gentleman's agreement not to develop the trail at all, until a plan was submitted. Until we were going to decide if we were going to support it or not. And this year, it was mowed and opened without the board’s knowledge, without the landowner’s knowledge,” said Supervisor Patrick Keem. Wednesday’s meeting was his last as town supervisor.

Home owners near the trail brought up concerns about privacy and safety. But, dozens spoke about the positives of having a trail run through the town.

Ultimately, the town board did vote in opposition of the trail, disappointing many at the meeting.

“How could this be possible? How could you vote against outdoor recreation during a pandemic? It seems impossible that anyone would take that position and yet here we,” said Jennifer Noah, an Orchard Park resident in support of ECRT.

This resolution doesn’t stop the ECRT from opening more sections of the trail in Orchard Park.