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October 2013 Column - Improvements at county parks must remain constant


OFFICE HIGHLIGHTS

Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills, who served on the Erie Community College Presidential Search Committee, has released the following statement concerning the announcement of the next president of ECC.

Erie County Legislator John Mills announces his 11th annual Town of Collins Library Hot Dog Roast Fundraiser will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until sold out) Saturday, June 17 at the library, 2341 Main St., Collins. Cost is $1...

Erie County Legislator John Mills announces that in the Town of Collins, Taylor Hollow Road will be closed from US Route 62 to Buffalo Street, from Monday, June 19 through Friday, Sept. 15 (or until complete.) Crews will be performing maintenance...

The Erie County Legislature has approved Ruthie’s Law to require improved accountability from nursing homes in cases where a resident has been badly injured. The law, named in honor of Ruth Murray, recognizes that nursing homes have a...

Congratulations to all the members of the class of 2017, whether you are graduating from college or high school. This is an exciting time of year for our local education institutes as graduates make very big decisions in what they will do next....

oneilj - Posted on 04 October 2013

Last week I joined the county executive and parks commissioner at Chestnut Ridge Park on a sunny morning to discuss improvements made to Erie County parks. From where we stood addressing the media, I could see a steady stream of cars entering the parks to enjoy a beautiful fall day.

Residents expect and deserve to have quality facilities when they go to the parks, and I am pleased to say major improvements have been made to ensure they are in good condition. However, park maintenance is a constant task that we must stay on top of at all times.

In my district alone there are several beautiful nature spaces, including Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park, Sprague Brook in Glenwood/Concord, and Wendt and Bennett beaches in Evans. Since I was elected to the Legislature, I have supported many capital improvement projects at the parks, some of the largest being renovations to the iconic casino and restoration of the toboggan chutes, both located in Chestnut Ridge Park.

The county executive reported that in the past two years the county has invested $4.5 million in its parks and beaches resulting in a variety of work.

Currently under way at Chestnut Ridge is a redesign of the entrance to better direct traffic and improve safety for pedestrians walking from the parking lot to the casino. Also, tennis courts are being resurfaced with new nets installed, and several shelters’ roofs were replaced. The improvements to the shelters are especially critical considering the county charges a fee to rent them. When someone pays for a service, they expect to receive a quality product. The county’s park system is more extensive than most people realize. There are 300 shelters, miles of roads and parking lots, and acres of land. The upkeep of these assets is time consuming and costly, but I believe that residents, the owners of these parks, deserve well-maintained parks. As I told a young mom at the press conference, we are working to not only keep the parks around for her and her children but also her children’s children and beyond. These are worthy investments, and I am pleased to see progress, but we need to continue to do more.

Anyone with questions about the county parks is encouraged to contact me at 858-8850 or emailjohn.mills@erie.gov.

I also wanted to announce that at the Legislature’s Sept. 26 session, by unanimous approval, the 11-member body approved the three-year snowplow contract between the towns and Erie County. I believe this is a fair agreement, especially for the taxpayers. By using town plows that are already clearing roads, we can remove snow more efficiently. This agreement saves the county from having to increase its personnel and equipment, which would be necessary if the county were to plow its 1,200 lane miles alone.

I want to thank the town supervisors and highway superintendents who accepted my invitation to speak at the Sept. 17 Economic Development Committee. The conversation proved to be the catalyst for getting both sides back to the negotiating table, and an agreement was settled the very next day. With an agreement in place, crews can prepare for the first snowfall, but hopefully that isn’t any time soon.