LITTLE VALLEY – The Cattaraugus County Legislature on Wednesday approved a resolution extending the Western New York Southowns Scenic Byway from Springville to Ellicottville.
The extension along the Route 219 corridor is planned to go through Ashford and the Town and Village of Ellicottville, whose elected officials were at the meeting offer supiort for the plan.
“The Town of Ellicottville is all for this,” Supervisor John Burrell said. “We have seen the benefit the scenic byway has brought to those in Erie County. Now, we would like to see the benefit come to Cattaraugus County.”
The entire county will benefit from the designation, according to Brian McFadden, chief executive of the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, who noted a state grant has been awarded for more interpretive signs along the route.
“The tourism industry has become very competitive,” he said. “We have to find ways to connect the dots, to bring people into the area to find more to do in Cattaraugus County.”
The Southowns Scenic Byway – which currently features 14 interpretive signs explaining points of interest in the Erie County cimmunities of Orchard Park, Aurora, Boston, Colden, Concord, East Aurora and Springville – is one of 26 trails recognized by the sate Department of Transportation as scenic byways.
To become part of the scenic byway, municipalities and their county must embrace a resolution.
An early opponent of the resolution, Legislator Dan M. Hale, R-Portville, is responsible for putting the brakes on the designation in the Legislature’s Finance Committee. However, he has since signed onto the proposal.
“I wasn’t happy with the way the resolution was written out, and I am still not pleased,” he said. “There is really little we can do and I am going to support it and urge all to vote for the designation.”
Hale and fellow Legislator William Sprague, D-Yorkshire, had criticized the designation as a possible impediment for off-premises signs and billboards by area businessmen.
In the end, Legislator Earl McElfresh, R-Olean, cast the lone dissenting vote.
“One of my colleagues made a great point about things like this,” McElfresh said. “Any time state government gets involved and makes more regulations, it’s a bit like a black mold. You can’t get rid of it.”