For many years Grand Island Blvd., the center of our Town, was an eyesore. Some may disagree, and I’ve heard some say it still is. But change is happening. When I first came into office, we made improvements to the south end.
A notable entrance
Previous administration worked with the DOT to put in a roundabout, and we redid the landscaping and cleaned up the area. We planted white oaks on the nearby hill, cleaned up weeds and debris, and installed a temporary sign welcoming people to the Island. Last winter we created a Christmas-themed display right in the center of the roundabout. This year we commissioned a beautiful new sign — hand carved and painted by a local artist — that will last for generations. We’re finalizing permits now.
But there’s more
Grand Island Blvd. is our main road, the center of our business district, but it’s not walkable or attractive. Granted, there are many small business owners working hard to make it a vibrant area, but we need to help them out. A huge infrastructure project is in the works for Grand Island Blvd. There will be sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, and conduit for broadband (in the future).
Grand Island Blvd Sidewalk Project
Pedestrian safety and community walkability are critical factors of a successful town. This project will install ADA-compliant sidewalks on both sides of the road from Webb all the way up to Fantasy Island. Curbs, crosswalks, and signage will be updated or added. It will increase safe access to Town Hall, the plaza, TOPS, and many small businesses, and it will look like some picturesque travel guide photo.
Where does the money come from? We are applying for the NYS DOT Transportation Alternative Program (TAP). TAP grants fund sidewalks, bike paths, and other community mobility initiatives. The Town is required to contribute a small portion to the overall cost, but, like Scenic Woods, most of the cost is covered by the grant. Hopefully this project will be done next year.
We’re making progress. I hope to see Grand Island become a community where families can enjoy our natural resources and local businesses thrive. This sidewalk project is a start, and we hope to expand it in the future to include Baseline and more of Grand Island Blvd.
There will be changes coming soon to the corner of Grand Island Blvd. and Whitehaven, so stay tuned. Scenic Woods, which I talked about last week, adds five miles of nature trails and public waterfront access. The West River Multi-use Trail (paving happening now!) will be a recreation destination for people of all ages from all over Western New York. Good things are happening in GI!