Area projects sharing $109K in grants

Several walkers make their way through DeWitt Recreation Area on Wednesday morning.

Three area community enhancement projects are among the GLOW region endeavors receiving grants from Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds.

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation created the funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo (CFGB) to support areas that were important to Wilson during his lifetime, CFGB said Tuesday: caregivers, community assets, design and access, and youth sports. Endowment funds are designed to grow over time and provide funding for charitable causes according to a client’s wishes.

The Genesee Highway Department was awarded a grant of $46,493. Genesee County Deputy Highway Superintendent for Facilities, Parks, Recreation and Forestry Paul Osborn said the grant will be used for the design and engineering for the first phase of a waterfront enhancement project at DeWitt Recreation Area.

The county received most of the funding it requested when it applied.

“All we have to do is apply. There’s no other stipulation behind it. The grant amount we requested was the maximum, which is $50,000,” Osborn said.

The first phase of the enhancement project includes a future kayak launch for DeWitt Pond; a proposed sidewalk retaining wall and handrail next to the pond; a three-tiered Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant fishing platform access; a seating wall; new ADA-compliant sidewalk access to restrooms, the Ellicott Trail and the waterfront; and a new, proposed parking lot. He said the area where the work would be done is about 10 acres. The grant would also pay for any studies that have to be done, Osborn said.

“There’s a scope of work that we put out to engineers back in 2020. They gave us proposals and we evaluated those proposals and selected a company (Barton & Loguidice) if this grant came through,” Osborn said. “As soon as we sign a contact with them (the Ralph Wilson Jr. Foundation), they’ll send the money out to us.”

The contract with Barton & Loguidice has not been determined and is still being negotiated, Osborn said.

“All we’re doing is design and engineering. The next phase would be construction,” he said. “This whole Phase 1 could be used as a match toward construction down the road. That gives us a leg up on any other project because the design and engineering is complete.”

Stormwater retention is always important and required of any project over a certain acreage, Osborn said.

“For DeWitt, it is critical to minimize pollutants as much as possible for water quality of the lake. Anytime you add hard surfaces to an area, it creates less water retention and so we are also looking at using environmentally sound retention and reduction methods of maximizing water infiltration methods to reduce water runoff,” he said. “These methods will be designed into the project with the Phase 1. Using rain garden stormwater retention applications and materials to allow infiltration is part of our goal and will be part of the design and engineering.”

The village of Perry will receive $50,000 toward the cost of a footbridge project. Mayor Rick Hauser Tuesday said he hadn’t seen the formal announcement, but that the village was quietly told earlier this month about the award.

“We applied in December for $50,000 through the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds, administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, towards a footbridge project crossing Silver Creek in the downtown, extending at a key location, the $1.25 million, Transportation Assistance Program-funded Silver Lake Trail that will be under construction this summer,” Hauser said. “It will help create a downtown ‘loop,’ reveal a woodland waterfall, encourage outdoor exploration and give view to the original foundations of one of the 1822 Richmond sawmill. The village would not have been able to undertake the project without this funding support. We’re very grateful.”

The mayor said Wyoming County Planning & Development alerted Perry to this opportunity since the county was aware of the village’s master plan for the trail.

“The County Highway Department offered to assist with abutments and placement of any prefabricated bridge. Village staff will provide coordination related to work for the remainder of the path,” Hauser said. “In addition, the village has separately secured an additional $60,000 towards this project from the streetscape portion of a recently awarded New York Main Street Technical Assistance grant award.”

Hauser said the village’s hope is for the bridge and loop trail to be complete by 2022, in time for the 200th anniversary of the historic sawmill’s construction.

“It goes without saying this is terrific news and the chance to partner with the Ralph C Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds, through the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo, is great timing. Not only will it build on the TAP-funded trail work happening this year, but we are also working with Letchworth Gateway Villages, Perry Main Street Association and the Trail Towns Initiative to map and promote Perry as a destination within the Genesee Valley for outdoor adventure,” he said. “A successful project could help pave the way for additional funding to extend the trail further on municipal property towards the eastern edge of the village.”

Hospice of Orleans received $12,500 from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Fund for Caregivers.

Derek Reiner, development and PR director for Hospice of Orleans, said the money will be mostly used for its supportive care services and for those who have a diagnosis of six months or greater or less than a year to live.

“That will help all the Orleans County residents who are terminally ill who fall in that category,” he said. “Also the grant helps with caregiver support. We offer grief counseling.”

Reiner said the grant money will help Hospice of Orleans a great deal. With COVID, non-profits like Hospice have been hit hard because they haven’t been able to do fundraisers.

(Staff Writer Mallory Diefenbach contributed to this article.)

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