Erie County, Partners Celebrate Trail Opening, Improved Waterfront Access
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26th), NYS Senator Mark Grisanti (R-60th), NYS Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-C-I Kenmore), representatives of the New York State Department of Transportation (“NYSDOT”), and members of the business community to cut the ribbon and officially open the Sherwood Greenway Trail. Part of a $3.8 million project that included significant improvements to Sheridan Drive (NY Rte. 324) and the Sheridan Drive Extension (NY Rte. 325), the new two-mile Greenway Trail connects the Two Mile Creek Trail in Sheridan Park with the Buffalo Riverwalk, linking multiple communities to the Niagara River waterfront.
“With the completion of the Sherwood Greenway Trail, Tonawanda’s trail system is completed and finally connected from the Shoreline Trail all the way to Sheridan Park, meaning that thousands of residents along this connector will now be able to walk and bike their way to the Niagara River without having to cross busy highways or roads along the way,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “This project aligns with my ‘Initiatives for a Smart Economy’ by embracing principles of smart growth, providing for multiple modes of transportation, and bringing partners together to benefit the community with great results. I would like to thank those partners in government, the private sector, and at the NYSDOT for their cooperation and commitment to this project and for the benefits it will bring to all who use it.”
Initial planning for the trail, a joint undertaking among Erie County, the Town of Tonawanda, the NYSDOT, and the New York State Thruway Authority, began in 2003. Construction on the Sherwood Greenway Trail project began in the Spring of 2013 and finished ahead of the anticipated completion date of Fall 2014. The multi-use Trail brings greater walkability and connectivity to the neighborhoods it traverses while also providing greatly enhanced waterfront access to residents in those neighborhoods. Approximately 75% of the funding for the roughly $1.045 million project was secured from the Federal Highway Administration, while Erie County provided the remaining 25% or about $258,000. The trail will be jointly maintained by Erie County and the Town of Tonawanda.
“I am thrilled to finally see this Sherwood Greenway Trail come to fruition,” said Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Anthony Caruana. “All partners from federal, state, county, and town community and business leaders came together to bring this Town’s vision of a multi-model access route to our great evolving waterfront to reality. It will also enhance the quality of life for our residents and our area workers as well.”
“This trail provides a new link in the chain that interconnects our communities with parks and public spaces along our waterfront,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “Western New York is home to some of the most unique and picturesque natural settings. The Sherwood Greenway trail provides a beautiful experience along the way.”
"Improving access to our waterfront for our constituents is a shared goal of many elected officials here in Western New York," said New York State Senator Mark Grisanti. "The completion of the Sherwood Greenway Trail represents a victory for those who want to walk or bike along the Niagara River. We have seen some great teamwork on this project and the end result is improved waterfront access in the Town of Tonawanda."
“Although it took years of planning and many obstacles had to be overcome, I am proud to stand here today at this ribbon cutting event for the Sherwood Greenway Train just shy of one year since its groundbreaking,” said Assemblyman Schimminger. “Completion of the trailway and related upgrades to pedestrian signals and crosswalks make the Town of Tonawanda’s trail systems more harmonious, accessible and safer for our residents and visitors to take advantage of our beautiful Niagara River waterfront.”
“The Sherwood Greenway project is an outstanding example of teamwork between New York State, Erie County, the Town of Tonawanda, and Praxair,” said NYSDOT Regional Director Darrell Kaminski. “This partnership enabled the necessary highway improvements on Sheridan Drive and the Sheridan Drive Extension, while also advancing the construction of a multi-use trail that bridged the gap in the Tonawanda trail system that will be beneficial for the community for decades to come.”
The Sherwood Greenway Trail’s creation was a component of a larger project involving the resurfacing of Sheridan Drive between Delaware Avenue and the Extension, as well as resurfacing of the Extension between Sheridan Drive and River Road. Major repairs to these roads included construction of new curbs and sidewalks, pedestrian safety upgrades at intersections, drainage inlet repairs, and replacement of traffic signals.