The Town of Newstead is located in the northeastern corner of Erie County in Western New York. The Town is a rural community with over 40% of the area devoted to agriculture. This agriculture characteristic is the Town's basic heritage going back to its founding in 1823.
The central business district and Town government headquarters is located in the Village of Akron, located in the eastern central part of the Town. A portion of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation is in the northeastern corner of the Town. The Town is physically split in two by a unique geographical feature, the Onondaga escarpment.
In 1788, New York State established the state's counties and towns. Towns were not new in 1788, however, and the laws established that year specified boundaries, town officials and municipal responsibilities that codified, in many instances, arrangements that already existed. At this time, Western New York was part of the Country of the Senecas.
The Town of Newstead is one of 932 towns in New York State. There are two classes of towns in the state. Basically a rural town and a suburban town. The Town of Newstead is a rural town and is governed slightly differently than a suburban town. Population of the town is estimated just below 9,000 (Newstead and Akron) as of the 2010 census.
The Town of Newstead suffered a historical setback when town records were destroyed in a 1887 fire. We have little to help us put the puzzle together on the numerous events of our growing community from 1823 to 1887. We have attempted to compile several Town offices and who was elected to them.
The Town met in several of the local businessmen offices over the years. There was a town hall and jail located on the east side of Buffalo Street between Main and John Streets in the early 1900's. Then the town hall moved to the corner of Church & John Streets in the Village where it stayed until 2005. In 2004 the town purchased the old Strippit training center located at 5 Clarence Center Rd and converted it into the current town hall. The town offices were moved there in February 2005 and remain there today.
The Town seal was developed in the 1970's. The design was created by Lanis Ritecz. She was assisted by the Town's Supervisor Kelsey Webster and Board member Terry Newcomb. The Town Seal was revised in 2015 due to the town's adoption of Indigenous People's Day as a recognized holiday to coincide with Columbus Day. The prior Indian Chief wearing a full headress was removed and replaced with the symbol of a white pine and headress with a single feather that more accurately portrayed a headress worn by our local tribesman.
We have listed all the current Town committees and those offices that were at one time elected in the Town of Newstead.
The Town of Newstead - Today
For decades the Town of Newstead struggled with its identity and attempting to maintain its agriculture and rural history. Steady slow growth has brought several industrial businesses to the area and along with it many new homes and residents. The town continues to strive to provide reasonable services to its residents and grow at a controlled rate.
A decade ago, the Town Board took several measures to help guide the future of the Town. It developed its first Town Master Plan, bought vacant land through grant money for future use, started to expand the water districts and purchased the rights to various abandoned railroads in our Town.
The railroad property has enhanced the Town in several ways. Some of the property was used by the Village to enhance electric service to the Village. The railroad property from the Village easterly has a bikepath used by the entire community, which extends all the way to the Town of Clarence in 2 locations.
The Town started to look at cooperative ventures with the other municipalities and businesses to enhance our community. To date, 3 Town Sewer Districts have been created to promote industry in the Town. This changed a vacant quarry into a very active commercial business and assisted two other major businesses in keeping their operations in the town. The town and village continue working together today on many joint ventures.
We have formed a Town wide refuse district and currently have a joint contract with the village for refuse and recycling. A Conservation Advisory Committee is appointed to assist in addressing the continuing environmental issues with the Town's development. We have an active Library Committee that addresses issues with the new library in our community. The Town is now predominately watered thru Erie County Water Authority, with only a few pocket areas still left to be developed with water.
Our Town Highway Department maintains all town roads in a superb manner. Our Town has roads maintained by Erie County, New York State and the Town. We plow the majority of the County roads in the winter season. The Highway Department helps in the town wide ditching program. In 2011 the Town Highway Department and Village DPW moved into a new Joint Municipal Facility together under one roof at 12707 Clarence Center Rd.
The Town government continues to do a good job maintaining services, enhancing life for its residents and keeping taxes in check.