OLEAN – Olean officials are hoping to secure funding from New York State Empire State Development to tie together trail and pathway ideas around the area.
One of the projects has already started to take shape without help from the state. Plans to convert a passive rail trestle over the Olean Creek have been approved, and most of the funding is in place for the project that would safely tie the city’s east and west sides, according to Mayor William Aiello.
The trestle, located next to the William O. Smith Recreation Center, will offer a crossing over the creek, next to an active trestle, connecting to the west bank, near the Cattaraugus Campus of Jamestown Community College.
The $134,000 plan has been in the works for more than a year, and has been approved by all agencies involved at this point. The resolution passed this week by the City Council set aside the funds to be able to pay the city’s share of the project, about 20 percent.
“This first portion will go to designing the walkway,” Community Development Director Mary George, said. “There are very specific guidelines.”
For decades, the trestles in Olean have been safety concerns, as pedestrians have used as shortcuts. In the last year, at least one train has had to come to a stop on the trestle because of people walking on it, according to rail officials.
That trail would have the potential of connecting to a new one that would connect Bradner Stadium with Forness Park, looping Forness Pond, Aiello said.
“We would also be able to create more restrooms in Forness Park, mostly in the area around fields eight and nine, but we would also be able to fund the fieldhouse project at the stadium,” he said.
The city would be applying for a $750,000 grant from Empire State Development for the project. Recent conversations about the fieldhouse project have placed a $500,000 price tag on the facility, which would house restrooms, concessions and team and officials locker rooms.
Forness Park has many baseball fields of varying sizes, suitable for little league and tee ball. The park also has a pond.
Finally, money also will be sought from the state to create a regional community and waterfront revitalization plan. The plan would look to create the basic framework for a linear park along the Allegany River, joined by neighboring municipalities. No dollar amount was disclosed for the plan.