VILLAGE OF LANCASTER, N.Y. — A project to transform West Main Street in the Village of Lancaster is now complete.
The project restored the historic street grid, extending West Main Street from its current terminus to Aurora Street. The street can now accommodate two-way traffic, sidewalks, on-street parking, light poles and more. Construction is also underway on mixed-use buildings.
"We really want to establish our own identity, bringing these parks like amenities, the hanging baskets, the landscape. Those are things that make our community unique," Village of Lancaster Mayor Lynne Ruda, said.
More than 60 years ago, the area was devastated by a fire.
"It was thriving. We had women's shops. We had a drug store over here. Then next door was the furniture store that burnt," Joseph Scymanski, a lifelong Lancaster resident, said, "It was messed up for 6 or 7 years."
Ruda said the area never truly recovered from that fire.
"As young as I remember I just knew a vacant parking lot. All I saw was a chain link fence and 4.4 acres of nothing. I always knew there was potential for our community," Ruda said.
Lilly Belle Meads has operated as the sole brewery on West Main Street for four years.
"People tell us when they come here they can't wait for three or four more on the street. We can't either. Just the energy on the street is just fun, after a year of no fun. Just to look forward to that in the next couple years is awesome," Joe Marshall, owner of Lilly Belle Meads, said.
The owners said they can't wait for more restaurants and breweries to open on the street.
"I think it says we're growing. We're growing, we're expanding and doing great progressive things," Tricia Marshall, owner of Lilly Belle Meads, said.
Those living in Lancaster said they are excited to not only watch the street, but the entire village grow.
"I hope that people come and say just wow this is incredible," Ruda said.
The project has been paid for with $8.5 million from the Better Buffalo Fund, $2.5 million of which came from the Smart Growth Community Fund.