A little-used 12-acre park adjacent to Town Hall and Wales Community Center is being sized up for a 1,900-foot walking trail.
Members of the Wales Town Board, town residents and members of a citizens exploratory committee discussed the issue last Wednesday during a meeting in a shelter of the park off Big Tree Road (Route 20A).
Supervisor Rickey Venditti said safety is one advantage of the recreational trail.
“We don’t want our residents walking or kids riding their bikes on Route 20A,” he said. “It’s too dangerous. About five years ago, the Town Board talked about a trail, but at that time there was not enough public interest.”
Susan Everett, who led the meeting, displayed an aerial rendition of the park, with rolling green fields and benches that could be donated in memory of loved ones. She noted that heavily treed areas along Buffalo Creek could be cleared for a nature trail and a view of the creek.
If neighbors are concerned about privacy, she noted, berms could be one solution.
A senior citizens organization that meets in the Community Center would have easy access to the trail and benches, she added.
No motor vehicles would be permitted, and whether leashed dogs would be allowed is under discussion.
Everett said a timeline to develop the trail depends on funding.
”We will start evaluations on costs of construction and funding available,” she said. “We’ll do the fact-finding but it is really a town project, We want to make our hometown just a little bit better.”
The town will be responsible for the plan before officials apply for any grants. The park currently features two shelters with picnic tables, as well as a playground and portable toilets.
Councilwoman Jude Hartrich and Venditti also are on the committee and have scouted out walking trails in other communities.
Venditti said he hopes the trail could be developed by 2014.
Highway Superintendent Michael Zywar estimated blacktopping would cost $35,000, with drainage and construction costs at $70,000 to $100,000.